“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
To be human is to have the need to forgive. It is a part of the human experience to offend and to be offended, to hurt and to be hurt by other humans. Often by and to those who are the nearest and dearest to us. Because of this shared experience of hurt, we all need to forgive others and to be forgiven by others. Over and over and over again. It is not easy, but it is necessary. Forgiveness is a gift that we give to others and in so doing, we give an even greater gift to ourselves. Freedom. Freedom from the prison that unforgiveness locks us in. Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is necessary for our own well being. The person we forgive does not necessarily even have to know that we have forgiven them, because forgiving another does not mean we have to reconcile with them.
The greater the offense against us, and the deeper the hurt, the greater the need to forgive—and the greater the difficulty in forgiving. But even though it may be difficult, unforgiveness is even harder, because it will damage us far more than the one who hurt us.
Unforgiveness is the poison you drink, expecting the other person to die. ~Anonymous
Look at what the Word says about forgiveness—
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Forgiveness is not just a one and done proposition. We must practice it daily, often many times a day. If you are suffering from a deep seated hurt or abuse that is ongoing or from far back in your past, it may take a long time to walk through the process of forgiveness. You might not even believe that it is possible to forgive. I understand. I have been there. In cases such as that, I would encourage you to reach out to someone you trust who can walk down the path of forgiveness with you. It might be a friend or family member, a mentor or pastor, or a counselor or therapist who understands forgiveness. I have personally made a decision to practice forgiveness toward someone who has wounded me deeply over a long period of time. I have enlisted the help of a Christian therapist to walk with me on the road to forgiveness—and freedom. There are many great books on the subject that can help you get started in this process. Reading the stories of others who have said yes to forgiveness can help us see that we are not alone and that there are great benefits to doing the hard work of forgiving what may seem unforgivable.
God has forgiven me so much, therefore, I owe it to others to forgive them.
Doing the right thing is not always easy, but when God asks something of us, He will give us sufficient grace to be obedient to His will, and He will walk with us into the freedom He desires for us!
Father God, I surrender my will to Your will. I know this may not always be easy, but I believe it will be worth it. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient and Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Help me to forgive as You have forgiven me. I pray that others will join me on this path to forgiveness. In Jesus’ name. Amen
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OnScripture encourages readers of this blog to follow the example of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-12, who received the word preached by Paul and Silas with readiness, but searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. We never intend for you to take our word for anything. Only God’s Word will stand.
All Scripture references are from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
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- TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2018.
- TerKeurst, Lysa. Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2020.
- Enright, Robert D. Forgiveness Is A Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving anger and Restoring Hope. Washington, D.C.: 1st Edition, American Psychological Association, 2001.