“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34)
After our Lent and Easter blog series, I feel it’s appropriate to write about forgiveness. While Jesus suffered immensely on the cross, He asked God to forgive the ones who crucified Him. It was a very powerful request to our Heavenly Father, who does not forget the sinner, but He forgets the sin. We have such an amazing God!
Forgiveness is something we are reluctant to mention, offer it, or accept it. It’s complicated. It’s painful. We need to bring healing to a hopeless and wounded heart, which starts with forgiving someone or accepting someone’s forgiveness. By not forgiving someone, regardless of how recent or long ago, it will slowly steal your soul and chip away at the very core of a person. It is cruel making us feel as if our hearts are under the greatest of attacks.
Something unspeakable happened to me a couple of decades ago from a random act of violence, which I carried hatred, victimization, and a heavy burden in my heart for so many years. It took away my soul. One moment I was fine; the other moment, my life was in someone else’s hands. I consistently reminded myself of the defining moment I faced death. Instead of trying to focus on healing, I spent so much energy remembering the attack with such revenge, hatred and insecurity. I was filled with rage and hostility. Holding all of this pain, fear, and insecurity came very, very close in taking my own life. My life turned into a sea of fear that threatened to drown me…I felt crippled.
“Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.”
Fast forwarding to the present, I recognized the desperate need to forgive. While becoming a Jesus follower over a decade ago, I was able to immediately distinguish the significance of forgiveness and needed to act on it! It brings peace. Your heart and soul become one. It definitely reminded me how Jesus forgave me of my sins…and still does! Sixteen years after the crime, I found it in my heart to forgive the man who stole my freedom, peace and security. Almost immediately, the emotional pain was gently and peacefully removed. Gone in an instant by just one simple act of forgiveness. That’s when my healing began. No amount of professional counseling sessions and anti-anxiety drugs could ever provide me with such overwhelming gratitude, hope and peace. It was from God.
Here are a few one-liners on forgiveness I’d like to share:
An apology is a good way to have the last word.
The only petition in the Lord’s Prayer that has a condition attached is the one on forgiveness.
It is far better to forgive and forget than resent and remember.
Love is asking to forgive what courtesy would have avoided.
Never has the human soul become so strong when it dares to forgive an injury.
Quarrels would not last long if there were not faults on both sides.
God forgives our sins, buries them in the sea of forgetfulness and puts up a sign: “No Fishing.”
Any area of our lives that lacks forgiveness lacks the breath of God. The Lord is the Creator of all pure hope, and He desires His children to live a life full of hope and joy. We can’t change what a person has said and done to hurt us, but we can learn to forgive them to set our hearts free. The adversary knows that if he can steal hope from God’s children, he can cripple the plans and purposes God has for our lives. Eventually we completely deviate from our God-given purpose and are left with a life void of hope.
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25
Forgiveness is the best form of love as it takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive. Are you willing to free your wounded heart and accept someone’s forgiveness or extend forgiveness? The things in life you can’t forget are the ones you hadn’t planned for.