“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. Luke 6:27-29
My husband and I recently completed a wonderful class called Re[Engage. We had the pleasure of leading an incredible table of couples through a study that encouraged us all to reconnect, reignite and resurrect our marriages. One of my favorite chapters was on forgiveness. It reminded us of what forgiveness is and what it is not!
Understanding that we should always forgive others because God has given us is one thing. It’s the actual forgiving part that is the tough part. Here are a few incredible truths about forgiveness that they shared.
- While reconciliation takes two people, forgiveness only takes one. We have complete control over whether we forgive someone or not and there is no action needed on their part for us to do so. And forgiveness doesn’t guarantee reconciliation.
- Forgiveness is for us! We are the one released from the negative impacts of holding on to resentment, anger, and betrayal. When we forgive we get to experience freedom.
- Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. If we wait until we “feel” like forgiving our offender, we will never forgive them.
- Forgiving does not mean forgetting! Why would we want to forget the lessons we learned during difficult times. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to relearn those. Forgive, but don’t forget. In fact, we need to remember God has called us to forgive.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are condoning what your offender has done.
They share some incredible articles on forgiveness on their website if you are interested. This is one muscle that needs constant reinforcement and strengthening in the world we live in. However, when we understand God’s great love for us and His continued forgiveness for our daily transgressions, it is easier to extend that same forgiveness and mercy to others.
Jesus’s parable about the man in debt (us) to the king (Him) in Matthew 18:21-35 is a very powerful story and so convicting. In the Message translation, it is actually titled, “A Story About Forgiveness.” It shines a light on our tendency to be hypocritical when it comes to forgiveness. We always want others to forgive us when we have wronged them, but we are often slow to forgive. As a new year approaches, my prayer is that each of us will look closely at our hearts and ask God to reveal any unforgiveness that lies within it. May He give us the strength, courage, and wisdom to release it and turn it over to Him so we can experience freedom.
Blog Art is provided by my friend and sister in Christ Polly Jo Green. She is an artist based in Cary, North Carolina. Visit her website at pollyjogreen.com.Her art ranges from doodle creations to mixed media pieces. In addition to commissioned original art, her art is available on notecards.