Someone has said or done something that is hurtful. This something could be a hurtful word, a lie to you or about you, or a larger betrayal. Regardless, we are called through God’s word to forgive.
Matthew 6:14-15 – “For if you forgive other 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.”
Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are at least thirty verses where forgiveness is mentioned, if not more. Various forms of the word forgive are mentioned in the NIV Bible 150 times (http://carm.org). That tells me it is very important that we practice forgiveness. I know that can be very difficult to do!
So, how on earth do we practice this forgiveness when we are flawed people? It’s not an easy task, I can tell you!
In my life, there have been many times where an act has occurred to me by a person I trusted, loved or both. I would love to say that I am and have been extremely spiritual and connected to God enough to easily forgive. But, I cannot. I am human. I am flawed. I have struggled with forgiving my transgressors.
How do I do it, then? My friends, the only thing I can do—I pray for forgiveness myself.
Yes, you read that right! I pray and ask God to forgive me of my wrongdoings against others and I ask that He help me to forgive those who have done me wrong. Practicing forgiveness isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Once I earnestly ask God to work in my heart and with my issues, then it is easier to be set free from the burdens of bitterness. Just like C.S. Lewis says, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” He is so right!
Many times, the expectations I hold of others lead to my own disappointments. I tend to hold others to a very high standard. So high I’m not sure I could live up to it myself. How is that fair to do? When they fail to meet that high expectation, I am left feeling disappointed and hurt. I need to let go of these high expectations and give them to God. I cannot control others, only God can do that. I need to stop trying to be God and let God be God! This can be a struggle for me. I know this about myself. God knows this about me, but when I ask Him to help me, that is exactly what He does.
Friends, we should be still, seek God, listen to Him and get out of His way long enough to let Him work in our hearts so we can forgive others just as He has forgiven us.
This is my story, what’s yours? I would love to hear from you! Click on the “Tell Me Your Story” link and know that all stories shared are done so in confidence. I may even contact you for permission to use your story as a featured post in the future! Inspire other about your story of forgiveness!
Until next week!