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The Gift of Forgiveness


Forgiveness is something I have struggled greatly with throughout my life.  In fact as I write this blog I am still struggling with forgiving others.  How someone has treated me, offended me, or hurt me has often causes me to harbor hatred in my heart and a desire to seek revenge.  Neither of which are pleasing to God.  Seeing those who hurt me get hurt brought me joy.  In fact, during my sophomore year in high school I got Galatians 6:7 – Don’t be deceived: God cannot be mocked a man reaps what he sows – embroidered on my letterman jacket underneath my name. Why? Because I had been mad about things that people at that school did to me and I used that scripture as justification of “hey you hurt me but God’s going to hurt you one day and I can’t wait!!” I wanted those who had hurt me to feel the hurt they caused me. They were going to get their payback and I was sitting on the edge of my seat ready and waiting. Little did I know scripture also says in Proverbs 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,” I’m so glad that my eyes have been open from those years of torment.  My point is that although it’s hard to forgive others when they have wronged you it’s the right thing to do. 
If you truly call yourself a Christian you must forgive others. What does scripture say about forgiveness?

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Mark 11:25, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

                Therefore you can clearly see that to be a successful Christian it is vital to forgive others just as Christ forgave us.  “Unforgiveness does not protect you from future hurts, it robs you from future opportunities.” – TD Jakes This is true my brothers and sisters.  Unforgiveness is a stumbling block not a stepping stone.  It’s a stumbling block preventing you from living your God given potential.  How long will it be before you let petty issues from the past control your life?  Pastor TD Jakes said in one of his sermons, “God can only let go of what He has for you when you let go of what is hindering you.” God cannot lead you forward when the things of the past are holding you back.  UNforgiveness is not of God it is of the devil.  Forgiveness is of God.  Forgiveness is a character trait of our father – God.  The devil is the one who wants us to think revenge-seeking thoughts and harbor hatred against our neighbor in our heart.  Harboring unforgiveness is like you taking poison but expecting the other person to die.  It hurts you more than it hurts them.  Unforgiveness does not please the Lord.  God is the one who says turn the other cheek.  Who says forgive your neighbor as I have forgiven you.  If we say we love God we should act like Him. The book of 1 John basically says we cannot say we love God but then we don’t love our neighbor.  And if we don’t love our neighbor but claim we love God we are a liar!  Forgiving others is a way of showing love.  Forgiveness is showing the love that Christ gave us when he forgives us each time we mess up.  We cannot go around loving God but then hating our neighbor because of the wrong they committed against us.  Pastor TD Jakes says we can’t just love vertically [to God] and not horizontally [to others].  How can you love God who you have not seen but hate your brother/sister who you see every day? This must stop.  Hate must be erased and love must enter in.  We must show love, mercy, and compassion to others just as our Father – God – has shown to us.  Stop and think for a minute who is your father?  What character traits are you reflecting? Love or Hate?  Only you know the answer and if you’re not happy with the answer only you with the help of God can make the change.

                I’m sure you are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer.  I’m sure you even have it memorized. “Our father…” you know how it goes.  But I urge you to pay close attention to this line “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  So you are basically asking God to forgive you like you have forgiven others. Do you really want God to forgive you like you have forgiven others?  Our forgiveness consists of “I’ll tell you I forgive you but I’m really still mad and deep down I don’t forgive you for what you did.”  Or the famous saying I forgive but I don’t forget.  Translation = I forgive you but I’m really still holding a grudge against you.  Now what if God did us like that?  When we mess up, which we do often, and then we ask God for forgiveness and one day he says “Oh [insert name here] I’ll forgive you but I won’t forget!” Can you imagine how you would feel?  Thankfully, God doesn’t do us like that so why should we do that to others?!  We don’t even deserve God’s forgiveness but he gave it to us permanently when He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

                I remember telling my mother how I didn’t want a certain family member to receive an invitation to my college graduation in May because they didn’t deserve it.  I remember saying some Will Smith quote like “If they weren’t with my during my struggle they don’t deserve to be with me during my success.”  As I sat quiet waiting to hear my mom’s response I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  And basically said well if we’re going to go there talking about what people do and don’t deserve you didn’t deserve Jesus dying on the cross for your sins but He did anyway!  And I was like dang Holy Spirit you didn’t have to do me like that did you.  That wrecked me HARD!  I share that with you my brothers and sisters because Jesus a perfect person died on the cross for you – filthy, unworthy, imperfect you.  You sure as heck didn't deserve His love for you!  However, when your friend, co-worker, or family member does something that hurts you, you hold a grudge and cannot forgive.  And you say PSSSSHH! They don't deserve my forgiveness!  But I'd like to stop you right there and say did you deserve God dying on the cross for your sins?  Everything He went through for you?  You didn't deserve it!  You who sin every time you open your mouth or in your thoughts.  You didn’t deserve it.  You the girl/guy that opens His Bible every blue moon and never spends time with God.  YOU! You didn't deserve it one bit for a perfect man named Jesus to die on the cross for your sins yet you cannot simply bring yourself to forgive your neighbor.  Then you sit there and justify it.  You say they don't deserve my forgiveness.  Not the way they treated me.  Not the way they hurt me.  Not after what they did to me!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Let me stop you right there.  Do yourself but most importantly God a favor learn to forgive others.  LET IT GO!  God lives in you and he forgave you for your sins so shouldn’t you turn that love He shows to you right around and forgive others?  It’s hard I know.  Been there done that.  I’m speaking from experience y’all.  Please learn to forgive.  Do it for God if you don’t do it for anyone else.  You cannot do it alone. You have to ask God to help you to forgive.  If forgiveness is your weakness guess what?  In your weakness God is strong.  I pray this blog has blessed you.  I pray that you choose from this day forward to forgive all those who have wronged you.  Don’t wait another second. Today is the day. May God bless you and keep you.

It's the hardest thing to give away and the last thing on your mind today it always goes to those that don't deserve” – Forgiveness by Matthew West

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© Miss TierraneyMaira Gall