The Spirit of Forgiveness
I kid you not; forgiving someone who has wronged you is hard. It goes against our very nature — you wronged me, now you must suffer. It sounds logical, but it is not Biblical — and as Christians, the Bible should be our guide and our foundation — not our own flawed human logic — but the Holy Spirit inspired, full, living word of God. Forgiveness is paramount to a Christians faith.
As found in Luke 17:3–4:
So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
The Bible makes forgiveness quite clear. We are meant to, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). So why do so many of us not do it?
Forgiveness ain’t easy
Let me tell you first hand that forgiving people isn’t easy. Forgiving past partners who abused my trust wasn’t easy. Dealing with friends who lie pathologically isn’t easy. Reading the hateful and hurtful comments beneath my articles isn’t easy. But I must forgive.
When you think about it, those problems I listed are incredibly minor in comparison to the way we humans violate God’s perfect and Holy law every single day. Our nature is sinful and even our own flesh fights against our spirit (Galatians 5:17). Every day we are in need of forgiveness and every day, with a resentful heart and through a relationship with Jesus Christ, we receive it. God does not tire in fulfilling His promises, which includes forgiving those who don’t deserve it, so we must not either. Yet many of us believers do; simply because forgiving somebody who severely wronged us is painful and a difficult thing to do.
Forgiving doesn’t mean you forget
A powerful reminder of the forgiving nature of God can be found in the book of Psalms — in which David states that God removes our sin from us as far away as the East is from the West. Another example of this can be found in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” So it is clear that God does not remember our sin. He forgets it. Yet God is a source of infinite knowledge and wisdom so it actually makes more sense to believe that God does remember our sin but does not actively recall. When viewing those cleansed in the blood of the Lamb we are not held accountable for our sin. Got Questions Ministries has this take on the topic;
These passages make it evident that God does not remember our sins. However, God’s “not remembering” is not what we usually think of as forgetfulness. God is omniscient. He knows everything, and He forgets nothing. However, He can choose not to remember something. In human relationships, we can choose to remember the offenses someone has committed against us, or we can choose to forget. To forgive someone, we must often put painful memories out of our minds. We don’t actually forget the sin, and it’s not that we are unable to recall the offense, but we choose to overlook it. Forgiveness prevents us from dwelling on past troubles.
We are no different in the fact that we remember when people wrong us; many even have scars, stories, and the pain to prove it. To forget a rough or traumatic experience is a near impossibility. No one is asking you to forget it — just to not ponder on it daily and actively recall it. Bathing in self-pity is a great way for the Devil to seep into the cracks you’ve not offered to God to heal. That’s not to say you cannot be upset or you cannot experience trauma and be affected by it — you most definitely can — but you can also make the decision to apply Biblical principles in your life and forgive those who have caused you grief and pain.
Forgiveness leads to freedom
A few years ago I was having a rough time forgiving somebody I loved. I came to the simple conclusion that if I loved this person, either in the past or my current situation, that I would forgive them as Christ Jesus forgives and forgave me. I would take this opportunity to show them what a Christian looks like, I extended grace to them, even though it was painstakingly difficult. Once I did that I felt these words be impressed upon my heart, “Forgiveness leads to Freedom.” Freedom from what exactly? Freedom from pain. Freedom from hurt. The freedom from questioning your self-worth. Freedom to move on.
We all go through the ringers of life, we all experience pain, a lot of the time that pain is caused by someone else, but find peace my brothers and sisters in the fact that by forgiving those who wrong us —even though it is difficult — it is freeing you from holding onto that hurt. I know this because I have been in this situation and I’m currently in it right now. A simpler way of understanding this is; by forgiving others you are doing exactly what God requires and what Satan hates. I think that in itself is cause enough to carry out the act of forgiveness and to embrace a spirit of forgiveness. I urge you to let forgiveness overflow from your soul.