Hey guys! Welcome back to another post! Hope you are all well. As we are approaching the end of the year, I felt to talk about this topic, also because I relate to it. As you can tell from the title of this post, we are going to be looking into forgiveness.
Now, forgiveness is something that, I personally think, majority of people struggle with. It’s not impossible but it’s difficult for most. But before we delve in, let’s look at what forgiveness actually means according to the dictionary.
The definition of forgiveness is ‘to grant pardon to (a person) or for a remission. It is also, ‘to cease to feel resentment against’. This is key, because you can not forgive someone whilst holding grudge or feel some type of way.
We often hear the idea of ‘forgive and don’t forget’ , this mentality is quite negative, because it promotes the idea of holding onto what happened, this defeats the purpose of forgiveness. When you forgive someone you don’t resent them and you most certainly do not hold onto what they did. When we look at how God forgives us, he does not hold onto what we have done in the past, if God did that, we would not appreciate it. When God forgives, he lets go of what happened and helps you to move forward and be better. God is loving and caring and forgiving. He forgave the Israelites multiple times, after every slip up, he showed them mercy. Even when Jesus was on the cross he cried out to God to forgive the people, he did not go up to heaven holding a grudge or keeping notes on what they did to him. He went to heaven with a clean heart. Which is what we need to do. Check our hearts. Is your heart clean?
I had to ask myself this question as I spoke with one of my friends the other day. I was telling her a story about something that happened a while ago, and as I was telling her about this past situation she said to me ‘you look like you’re about to cry’ and I didn’t feel any tears in my eyes. After the conversation, I asked myself, have you truly forgiven? Have you truly let go? Sometimes life gets in the way and we end up just sweeping things under the rug and not really dealing with the pain or hurt of what had happened, instead we convince ourselves that we have moved on or forgiven the person we in reality our spirit is hurt.
And that is what I realised, my spirit is hurt. Have you checked your spirit? Is your spirit hurt?
Forgiveness can be hard sometimes and it can be a long process depending on what the situation was or even on how your spirit has taken it. When we look at the Bible, many people had to forgive in hard situations. Joseph for example, when his brothers sold him off as a slave, he had to forgive them when the time came for him to save his family. He had all the power, he could have sent them away and banished them, after what they did to him. But he did not, instead he helped his family during the famine and looked after them. He forgave them and gave God the glory because he realised that it was God that directed his path even amongst the trouble.
Another beautiful example of forgiveness is when Peter asks Jesus, in Matthew 18:22, How many times should you forgive someone? Seven times? And Jesus responds with seventy times seven! Then Jesus gives this parable about a man who was forgiven by the king for his debts, but after he was forgiven, he didn’t forgive the servant that owed him. This resulted in the man being punished by the king for his unforgiving heart. Jesus explains that the king is God and the man is representation of us and this is what happens when you do not forgive others.
"No not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!" - Matthew 18:22
How can we expect God to be so merciful towards us, when we are so cold towards the people around us? We need to learn to forgive before we can expect to be forgiven.
If you are struggling with forgiveness, pray to God and ask him to soften your heart. When you ask God to work in you, expect challenges, because that is how you will see your growth. When you are faced with challenges of forgiveness, recognised that it is God working in you and forgive the person.
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Let us learn to forgive and have a loving a heart.
Story of Jospeh: Genesis chapter 37-45
Parable of the unforgiving debtor: Matthew 18:21-35