I learned about forgiveness from my mom and grandma. Life was hard for them and yet there was no bitterness because they had a personal relationship with Jesus and walk daily in forgiveness as they prayed for others.
In 1995, I processed through the Steps To Freedom. Step Three is bitterness verses forgiveness. As I have shared this is my ministry. This is by far the most difficult step for men and women alike. Forgiveness can be misunderstood. But God commands us to forgive. In Matthew 18: 21-22, Peter asks how many times we are to forgive?
Over the years, I have shared with women what I learned about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Neil says, “People who try to forget find they cannot. In Hebrews 10:17, God says He will remember our sins no more but God is omniscient, cannot forget. Remember our sins no more means that God will never use the past against us Psalm 103:12. Forgetting may be the result of forgiveness, but it is never the means of forgiveness. When we bring up the past against others, we are saying we haven’t forgiven them.”
From the Steps to Freedom, I learned forgiveness is a choice, a crisis of the will. Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can do. Forgiveness is difficult because it pulls against our concept of justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. However we are told in Romans 12:19 to never take our own revenge. One might say, “Why should I let them off the hook? Beloved Neil teaches, that is the problem, you are still hooked to them, still bound by your past. Through forgiveness, you let them off your hook, but the person is never off God’s hook.” He is the only fair judge.
Beloved, I learned that we do not forgive for the person’s sake, we forgive for our own sake so we can be free. Our forgiving isn’t the issue between you and the person that offended you, it is between you and God
Lastly, per Neil Anderson, forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. Forgiveness is costly. Beloved, you’re going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not, your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness.
Don McMinn said, “Forgiving others brings freedom in three areas.
- The one who has been offended is set free from anger.
- Relationships can be healed.
- Forgiveness offers grace to the offender.
Don McMinn shares practical ways to forgive one another.
- Forgiveness is a choice, it’s a function of our wills, not our emotions.
- Forgiveness is a matter of stewardship.
- We need to forgive regardless whether it leads to reconciliation or whether our offender asks for forgiveness.
- We should not make our forgiveness conditional.
Life changing words,
“Lord, I choose to forgive (Name) for (offense) and it made me feel (name the feeling).”
and become one to another kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, according as also God in Christ did forgive you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
Beloved, walk in forgiveness. I love this song from Matthew West, “Forgiveness”