February 19, 2012

Forgiveness - A Heart Unchained

What does it mean to forgive someone? Webster defines forgive as “to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)” What does this mean to you? 

Offering forgiveness is not always easy, especially if the hurt is deep. Yet, with forgiveness, there is freedom from having to carry the burden and the pain of the offense in your heart. Forgiveness is also releasing unhealthy and damaging roots of emotions that come as a result: anger, resentment, bitterness and replacing it all with compassion and mercy. That doesn’t mean giving the offender an excuse for their wrongful actions, words or motives. That means to simply pass on the peace that comes with forgiveness, often through positive peaceful action and interaction - the channel for carrying forward God’s command for us to love one another. Where there is peace, there is fertile ground to share seeds of love and hope for a change of heart in those who’ve done you wrong and most, a change of heart in ourselves.

What does God’s Word say about forgiveness?  Luke 6:27-28 says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”

Love, pray, do good, bless? What a concept! How we reach out to others (or don’t reach out) eventually comes back to us in some way or another. Good seeds will reap a good harvest.  Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” The abundance of good leaves no room for the bad.

Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Luke 17:3-4, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”  

There are many hearts in our midst who have been suffering through the consequences of wrong choices. There is forgiveness, mercy and Grace through Jesus Himself, yet other hearts around them simply can not and will not let the offense go. If God forgives, why shouldn’t we? 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 says, “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”

There are many hearts involved with any offense, but if we learn to let go and forgive even forgive ourselves, God will heal the wounds of all the broken hearts involved. Many more hearts will receive an amazing blessing of God’s grace in action through the example of extending forgiveness and revealing His grace a little further.

Blessings, dear one!


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