Forgiveness - we all struggle with this.
We may accept God's forgiveness for our sins, but hey, don't ask us to forgive others when they hurt, abuse, crush, molest, invade, pass down grievances and wreck our lives. It's okay for God to do that sort of thing as He is Divine, but as for me, I am human and I cant or wont do that. And why should I? I am the one who has been hurt, I am the one who is hurting, I am the one whose life has been messed up. Why should I forgive the person who has done this to me? I want to see them suffer like I have.
Then Peter came and said to Him, "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.
Or, God has allowed me to suffer, he did not intervene when I was being raped, abused, undermined, attacked, assaulted physically or mentally. So I am not going to forgive him. He could have stopped these things. My life has been ruined.
I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free."
Do these two scenarios sound familiar?
Forgiveness comes from the heart. So when our heart is broken it is very difficult for our own spirit to take the almighty step to forgive.
We know that God has been forgiving us since the beginning of time. So He knows the pain that is incurred when we don't forgive. He put a rainbow in the sky to remind himself of this. From that moment on God's mercy has abounded, and been fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
We need to bear in mind that as Christians forgiveness is part and parcel of following Christ.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
It is a commandment. A necessary action to receive the fullness of God's forgiveness and healing.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
By not forgiving we are providing an opening for the evil one to dwell in our lives and to grow bitterness, anger and hardness of heart in the gardens of our soul.
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Only God can do this.
Yes, it is very hard to forgive others especially when they have invaded our bodies and degraded us through acts of violence. It is also hard to forgive God when we feel he has been an accomplice to this. However, God is never an accomplice in sin. He is the answer to sin. God took on the challenge of sin and conquered it.
When we blame God for a sin we need to ask His forgiveness so that His Hope can come into the sin and heal it. We will not experience peace until we do so.
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'
Forgiving is Love which equals Hope.
Forgiving releases us allowing Hope to restore us to God.
We have a choice. Forgiveness and Hope or bitterness and hopelessness.
One provides water for growing love, the other a desert and infertile soil where nothing grows.
The process for forgiving is not easy. It requires speaking out loud your regrets, for example, a life ruined by the sin. Asking God to forgive you for allowing that sin to take over your life instead of bringing it to the foot of His cross. Forgiving yourself and the other person. Cutting the ties that the sin(s) have bound you to the other person. Asking forgiveness of God for blaming him for the sin happening in the first place. During and after this process, with the help of prayer warriors/partners, you need to leave the sin at the foot of the cross and leave it there so that Hope can release and take you forward to a new life.
If we decide not to forgive, hope for future peace and fruitfulness will unfortunately be stumped, just as growth is stumped when we do not feed our bodies with the right foods. God wants us to be fruitful, hopeful and successful in our faith. He has shown us the way, the way of the cross, the way of forgiveness. Why then if His son had to go through the cross to return to Heaven should we not have the same road to walk? Yes we have been saved, but that means we must follow Jesus' example. We must forgive, no matter if it takes us to the cross, because once there we have the choice of staying there or rising like Christ did.
Being a Christian is not easy, but we have the Holy Spirit to help us. If we pray for the Spirit to help us, He will give us the courage we need to forgive from the heart.
God bless you all.
(Author of "How to make Victoria Sponge - a journey of faith")