I have often heard about the power of forgiveness, but until recently the phrase didn’t have a lot of meaning to me. A few years ago, I had an unfortunate incident with a relative. Without going into too much detail, I will say I was very hurt and felt that I in no way deserved the treatment I received.
This affected everything in my life, my marriage, and I just felt depressed. I was told by my pastor that I need to forgive this person. I knew that I needed to, but something inside of me just wouldn’t let it go. I dwelled on this for almost a year. Every time I thought about it, my blood would boil.
It is always so interesting how God works. He used such an awful experience to teach me about forgiveness. I really think that my life will forever be better learning this lesson.
That fall it became clear that it was about time for a reunion. Finally, I decided to start speaking with God about the situation. Then, winter rolled around and we were planning a visit.
I continued to pray and God gave me a revelation. It was, you don’t know if they know Jesus, this is your chance to be Jesus to them. At that point, I thought to myself, I need to go there with a forgiving spirit and show them some grace. That is just what I did.
I went out of my way to be kind and attentive to this person and the most amazing thing happened to me. It was like a weight was lifted off my back that I didn’t even know I was carrying around for a year. I felt lighter, happier and I felt God working.
I didn’t have to tell this person I forgive you, but my actions displayed this forgiveness. By the way, this person has still not said they were sorry for anything they had done, and the interesting thing is it doesn’t really matter. I was changed, and I am a better person from that experience.
Now that I really understand what it means to forgive, I can do it so much easier now. A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at church and treated rudely from an individual.
What I would have normally let eat at me for awhile, I was able to let it go and the next time I ran into this person I treated her kindly. That was such a better feeling than returning her gesture with a snub or rudeness.
By Jennifer, Simple Home ManagingLeave a Comment
Amy Hunt says
Our actions display forgiveness…and yes, it’s more about us. God alone judges. When we harbor bitterness or anger, we’re trying to be the Judge and it’s unsettling because we weren’t made to be.
I’ve experienced the same thing you have–what true forgiveness is, and how it gives us Peace in the living. Letting God handle the rest (the apologies, the softening, the touch of His hand on their heart…) is worship. Surrendering and trusting is sacrificing our wants to See His hand.
Rich blessings, Jennifer, as you continue to trust Him…
“…is worship” Okay, I never would have thought of it that way, but you are so right. Thanks for taking a moment to read my post and comment.
I am touched.
Stefanie Wofford says
This is so true. Forgiveness is essential. I find myself forgiving others bc if I don’t my children will NVR learn how to do this. It is so freeing. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. 🙂
Good point about what we are modeling for our kiddos!
I have found that unforgiveness binds me up more than the one who hurt me. When I have forgiven that person I am the one set free…this was something that took me by surprise when it happened. Like you I was lighter, happier. I found God didn’t even need me to tell the person they were forgiven ( I had written a letter but felt led not to mail it). God worked in my life, and their life, (at the same time) as only He could do!
Wow, Karen, God is so good! Thanks for sharing!
Beautiful words! I often keep these words in mind…Forgiveness not given is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick/die. I found them somewhere once and after watching my parents suffer many years with unforgiving hearts decided to live differently. It is something we can do for ourselves and whether we share it with those that we forgive or do it simply so we are not miserable it is a wonderful thing to do.
Thank you Nicki,
I so hope this is a lesson I only need to learn once!
Beautiful words! I often keep these words in mind…Forgiveness not given is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick/die. I found them somewhere once and after watching my parents suffer many years with unforgiving hearts decided to live differently. It is something we can do for ourselves and whether we share it with those that we forgive or do it simply so we are not miserable it is a wonderful thing to do. Thank you!! – Deo Volente
Great thoughts about forgiveness. Forgiving others is a great way to keep our hearts free from resentment and, most importantly, a great way to honor God and grow in Christlikeness.
I like how you said “keep our hearts free”. Thanks for your comment!
Tracy in NJ says
I’ve heard it said that if God seems distant one of the first things to do is check yourself for any unconfessed sin and that unforgiveness is quite likely to be that very sin that is separating you from God. Unforgiveness ALWAYS leads to bitterness of some degree and we all know how painful that is to carry around. During a season when I was suffering from unforgiveness (and well yes-growing bitterness) my wise pastor told me I had a choice: you can be right and see how many people you can draw to your side OR you make peace and have peace. I think that being right will never feel as good as having peace.
I think I’m going through the grieving stages right now over a painful relationship. This relative constantly pushes my buttons and although I show her grace upon grace, she give me none. It’s like she’s drowning and uses me to stay afloat for a little while longer, then drags me under again. I need to let go or we’ll both drown. It’s time to place the oxygen mask on myself and swim for shore. If she drowns, it’s her choice, but God doesn’t expect me to sink with her. I must let her go and go through the process of forgiving her for all the years of abuse. It’s so hard, but I’ll get there. It’s a choice and I will make this choice so I don’t become bitter like she is. Thank you for your example. I will love the unloving and thank God for this time of growth in my life.
Nikole Hahn says
It’s important to realize that in some instances reconcilation isn’t possible. However, forgiving them is important like you said. God changed me in my circumstances, too. It’s funny when that curtain of darkness lifts how much clearer you see and how much easier you love.
Forgive…it sounds so easy and yet, is so hard for me. I am justice oriented and God will gently keep humbling me until I get the message…He is in charge and I am to obey. He really does want the best for me and daily I need to trust that. Thank you, Jennifer for the amazing devotional today and reminder. Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit speak through you! Love your neighbor as yourself is easy with you!
I am going through this very thing right now with a family member!! Exactly. My blood is boiling and while I have experienced much abuse and injustice I do forgive. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation in my book however and for me I have had to remove myself from a very unsafe person. I pray God gives me the strength to be civil when need be.
Betty Draper says
Thanks for a heart issue post…just recently i had to forgive someone who has hurt my family and I will be face to face with them for a week. Praying i can be Roman 15:13 to them…for those who hurt others with words are only showing their weaknesses. Now the mother in me would like slap the head off this person BUT the spirit of God is strong then my mother spirit. When we walk in an unforgiving state we are weaken and our armor is down so the fiery darts of the enemy get through. He wraps his wicked ropes around our hearts and makes us his slave saying and acting like his child instead of a child of God. Forgiveness breaks those bonds and Rom 15 tells us how to be free from that hurt. We bear the weakness of others for that is what Christ did. Besides there are times i need others to be strong for me bear my weaknesses..forgive me…none of us are without sin……I love your post for it brings every day stuff to the fore front of our minds instead of allowing us to stuff it in some closet in our hearts. courage is never needed more then when it comes to forgiving someone
Wow, thank you Betty. I’m still chewing on your comment, really insightful. I’m praying that your week together will be one of healing.
Betty Draper says
sorry correction on that scripture, it’s Roman 15:1-3…oh it’s that frailness showing up again..
Ha ha, no worries! Looks like I have my quiet time for tonight!
colleen laquay urbaniuk @ thegiftofmondays.com says
i’ve been there. felt the same feelings of not wanting to let it go. couldn’t believe i was treated the way i was. knew i totally didn’t deserve it. but thankfully, somewhere way down deep, i knew God allowed it because it was going to change me. not in a bad way, but in a good way. i knew God wasn’t the author of my pain, but He would use it to bring about a blessing to my life. though i hated the situation, i’m glad it happened. and i believe i’m a better person for it. thanks for your great post!!!