Just the other day, a friend of mine asked how she could forgive. She had prayed, she sought guidance from the Word, but there still seemed to be something missing. Having gone through a similar challenge, I shared with her some thoughts that I want to share with you.
Oftentimes, people say you should forgive and forget. I respectfully disagree with this because there’s no place in the Bible that suggests we should do so. What the Bible does say is that we should forgive as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32), keep forgiving in spite of repeated offences (Matthew 18: 21-22), and refuse to keep a record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). Remembering what someone has done and holding it against them are two very different things.
Think about it this way: if you made an error, you may forgive yourself, but you wouldn’t want to forget what happened otherwise you’d keep making the same error. It’s the same way when dealing with other people. Let the anger, bitterness, resentment, and depression go and hold on to the lesson learned from the experience.
An important aspect of forgiveness is not only studying the Word and praying, but also acknowledging the lordship of the Word in your life. One can know what the Bible says and not be fully submitted to it; they haven’t made Jesus their LORD (master) in a certain area. Anytime I begin to sense negative feelings rising up within me, I stop myself and remember that I was bought with a price.The reminder that Jesus is my LORD always keeps me in check.
Another aspect of forgiveness is receiving help from the Holy Spirit. In addition to all of the wonderful things He does for us, one of the most beautiful is that He gives us the ability to love like God does. When we love like He does, we function beyond emotions. God doesn’t love from a place of emotions; he loves because it’s the core of His nature (1 John 4:8) and being his children, we should follow suit (Ephesians 5:1).
Lastly, there is the power of confession. In some areas of the Bible, confession doesn’t mean what most people think (telling about your sins to God or another person). What it actually means is speaking the same thing in agreement with God. For example, if I confess, “The love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5), I’m saying what God has already said about me in His word. This is powerful because our mouths chart the course of our lives (James 3:3-5) Confession can be in the form of scripture like I mentioned above, but it can also be a statement that in consistent with the Word. For example, I often tell myself that I’ll never be broke in my life. There’s no scripture that says those exact words, but it’s consistent with the Word because of scriptures like Proverbs 10:22 and 2 Corinthians 8:9.
In Part 2, I’ll be discussing what forgiveness does for you.
I hope this has blessed you. Please comment below to share your thoughts and testimonies!