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DO YOU STRUGGLE TO FORGIVE OTHERS?
Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful and freeing words in the human vocabulary.
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit”
If you’ve been wounded by someone, how do you “get over it”?
People want to forgive and forget… often the pain is just too deep. Although hurts may have happened days, months, or even years ago, forgiveness seems out of reach.
What if the off ender never asks to be forgiven?
Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
Discover the four stages of forgiveness, which are all designed to help restore emotional wholeness and emulate Jesus’s heart for forgiveness.
The obvious answer to the question “Why forgive?” is this: “Because God says so!”
Why does God say so? First,because others need it. And second, because we need it! Forgiveness is at the heart of God’s character and the heart of why Jesus came. God’s Word reveals His forgiving heart and provides many reasons why you should always strive to be forgiving.
“In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Releasing You is Freeing Me Forgiveness is freeing.
If you’ve been wounded by someone, how do you “get over it”? People want to forgive and forget… often the pain is just too deep. Although hurts may have happened days, months, or even years ago, forgiveness seems out of reach.
- What if the off ender never asks to be forgiven?
- Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
- Do you struggle to forgive others?
- Who are you mad at right now?
- Do you find it hard to forgive those who have hurt or disappointed you?
- Are you sometimes overwhelmed with frustration or bitterness?Have you turned to the Bible for text on forgiveness?
- Or do you need forgiveness?
Maybe you have been disrespectful or unkind and you’re wondering how to ask for forgiveness.If you struggle to answer any of the above questions, know you’re not alone. Forgiveness can often feel like one of the hardest things you’ll ever do … and sometimes it seems impossible to consider.The good news is that forgiveness is not far away. Wherever the fault lies, we all have the opportunity to forgive … and be forgiven.
How much pain and unhappy consequences could be avoided if we all learned the meaning of this word! King David shared some of the emotion he personally experienced after he asked God to “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation.
He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
Is Unforgiveness Secretly Ruling You?
When you refuse to forgive, your unforgiveness keeps you emotionally stuck to both the offense and the offender. A continual refusal to forgive digs a deeper hole in which you can easily hide your hardened heart.
Blaming others is a favorite tactic to justify unforgiveness. You can become too comfortable in the unnatural habitat of self-righteousness and self pity. Your past hurts, though buried, are still very much alive. And because they are not released in God’s way, oddly enough you become like your offender, and you’re blind to this.
Not forgiving your offender is an offense to God, thereby making you an offender to God as well! The Bible says to confess and renounce this sin. We see this in Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
So make the decision now, do it God’s way. He says forgive. You can do it because He will empower you to do it.If you’ve been wounded by someone, how do you “get over it”?
People want to forgive and forget… and often the pain is just too deep. Although hurts may have happened days, months, or even years ago, forgiveness seems out of reach. What if the offender never asks to be forgiven? Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
What Forgiveness Is?
- Forgiveness is dismissing a debt.
- Forgiveness is dismissing your demand that others owe you something, especially when ...
- They fail to meet your expectations.
- They fail to keep a promise.
- They fail to treat you justly.
- Forgiveness is dismissing, cancelling, or setting someone free from the consequence of falling short of God’s standard.
- Forgiveness is extended even if it is never, ever earned.
- Forgiveness is extended regardless of a lack of repentance.
- Forgiveness is releasing your resentment toward your offender.
- Releasing your right to hear “I’m sorry”
- Releasing your right to be bitter
- Releasing your right to get even
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17).
- Forgiveness is releasing your rights regarding the offense.
- Releasing your right to dwell on the offense
- Releasing your right to hold on to the offense
- Releasing your right to keep bringing up the offense
"Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
- Forgiveness is reflecting on the character of God. Just as God is willing to forgive us, we are called to forgive others.
- To forgive is to extend mercy.
- To forgive is to give a gift of grace.
- To forgive is to set the offender free.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”
- Forgiveness is not waiting for “time to heal all wounds.”
- Forgiveness is not letting the guilty “off the hook.” Time does not heal wounds
- some people will not allow healing.
- It is moving the guilty from your hook onto God’s hook.
- Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.
- It takes two for reconciliation, only one for forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is not being a weak martyr.
- It is being strong enough to be Christlike.
- Forgiveness is not stuffing your anger.
- It is resolving your anger by releasing the offense to God.
- Forgiveness is not a natural response.
- It is a supernatural one, empowered by God.
- Forgiveness is not denying the hurt.
- It is feeling the hurt and releasing it.
- Forgiveness is not being a doormat.
- That would make Jesus the greatest doormat of all!
- Forgiveness is not conditional.
- It is unconditional, a mandate from God for everyone.
- Forgiveness is not forgetting.
- Forgiveness is not a feeling.To forgive, you must remember.
- It is a choice
- an act of the will.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
The High Cost of Unforgiveness
- Unforgiveness blocks the door to salvation and God’s forgiveness. (Matthew 6:14–15)
- Unforgiveness allows a root of bitterness to grow. (Hebrews 12:15)
- Unforgiveness opens a door to Satan in our lives. (2 Corinthians 2:10–11)
- Unforgiveness causes us to walk in darkness. (1 John 2:9–11)
- Unforgiveness is of Satan. (James 3:14–15)
- Unforgiveness reflects a godless heart. (Job 36:13)
- Unforgiveness makes us captive to sin. (Acts 8:23)
- Unforgiveness grieves the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 4:30–31)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
The 4 Stages of Forgiveness
1. Face the Offense.
- Don’t minimize the offense.
- Don’t excuse offensive behavior.
“Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9)
2. Feel the Offense.
- Don’t deny your pain.
- Don’t carry false guilt for hating what happened.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens ... a time to love and a time to hate.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8)
3. Forgive the Offender.
- We are called by God to forgive!
- Genuine forgiveness draws you into the heart of God, and your life takes on the divine character of Christ.
“If you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
4. Find Oneness—if appropriate.
- Note if the offender honestly accepts responsibility
- Set appropriate boundaries.
- Don’t rush reconciliation—change takes time.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
How Do You Truly Forgive?
(How to Handle “The Hook”)
- Imagine right now that there is a hook attached to your collarbone. And imagine all the pain attached to the hook as a result of the wrong that was done to you.
- Ask yourself, Do I really want to carry all that pain with me for the rest of my life? The Lord wants you to take the pain from the past and release it into His hands.
- Then take the one who offended you off your emotional hook and place him onto God’s hook. The Lord knows how to deal with your offender. God says ...
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”
Prayer of Forgiveness
“Lord Jesus, thank You for caring about how much my heart has been hurt. You know the pain I have felt because of (list every offense). Right now I release all that pain into Your hands. Thank You, Lord, for dying on the cross for me and ex-tending Your forgiveness to me. As an act of my will, I choose to forgive ( name ). Right now, I move (name) off of my emo-tional hook to Your hook. I refuse all thoughts of revenge. I trust that in Your time and in Your way You will deal with (name) as You see fit. And Lord, thank You for giving me Your power to forgive so that I can be set free. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, as in Christ God forgave you.”
How to Forgive ... Again
Forbid recurring thoughts of the wrongs to enter your mind. “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
- Overcome the temptation to bring up the matter again.
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)
- Repeat Scripture in your mind.
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12)
- Give the situation to God.
“When they hurled their insults at him [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
- Intercede on behalf of your offender.
“Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23)
- Value what you can give rather than what you can receive.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
- Extend God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
“The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” (James 5:11)
Key Verse to Learn
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Key Passages to Read
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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
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