I have been working on this post for weeks. I have studied, took down notes, wrote out a whole blog and then deleted it when I heard God say, “Start over”. In the first post there was more research and not some much heart. Why? Because sharing my heart on this is very vulnerable. But God calls us to step out in faith for Him, to bring Him glory. So here I go…my heart is on the table.
About a year and half ago I found out some information from someone that I am close to that broke me to pieces. I will not go into detail on here about the situation or who this was because this is not what this blog is about, but it is about forgiveness. Forgiveness of the offense and for the person. When I first learned of the offense God put a super power within me to forgive right away and move on.
But recently I’ve experience something I have never experienced to this magnitude before. Depression & anxiety with a side of bitterness. It creeped up inside me like a sneaky snake, I didn’t know it was there until it was already inside my pants with no way of getting out unless I took my pants off and expose myself. It was getting so bad that it was effecting my marriage, my relationships and my daily life. I was sad all the time and I couldn’t find joy in anything. I would cry on a moments notice and then be angry the next. I put the blame on others, thinking they were doing things to me to cause me to act this way. I couldn’t find the blame in myself for I found myself blameless.
I approached a close friend on the issue and asked her about forgiveness. I told her how I had forgiven them once before and about my fear that I hadn’t been honest with that forgiveness. I was unsure if I had really dealt with the pain at the time. My friend had some great insight:
“Forgiveness is like taking out the trash. When the trash gets full with yucky smelly junk we need to take it out. And then little by little the trash starts getting full again with junk because we have have stuff we throw in there daily, and we have to take it out again. Just like trash, forgiveness needs this attention. Little by little the enemy will start adding junk in there and we need to get rid of it.”
That analogy was so life changing for me. I assumed that once you dealt with the forgiveness it was something you were done dealing with. But in that moment God brought it to my attention that I needed to forgive again. It was harder this time, there was more hurt and I just didn’t want to justify that hurt by forgiving the offender. So I began researching forgiveness. I read books like The Judas Goat by Perry Stone, looked up all the definitions of forgiveness online, sought out advice from wiser people in my life and most importantly, I read my bible. You know what I found out? Forgiveness isn’t about justifying the person actions, it isn’t for the other person, and it isn’t saying everything is forgotten and the pain subsides.
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is a choice, forgiveness is for you, forgiveness allows you to move forward and forgiveness is love. But most importantly God forgives us, he wipes the slate clean and he DIED for us. And this is what he says:
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26
Wow…..Do I have sin? YES! I need Jesus big time. When I am holding on to this unforgiveness and choosing not to give it out, God will choose to not forgive me. The enemy will start to plant little lies into our heads and they begin to grow like yeast does in warm homemade bread. Then, eventually we are rock bottom and not sure how we got there. So I laid it all out, arms wide open, eyes pouring with tears as I let go. I forgave. I immediately felt a release of my pain. The hurt was there but God gave me a compensating joyful spirit. The depression, anxiety and bitterness was gone. Once I gave it all up I felt lighter, happier and joyful again.
I write this today to encourage you. I’ve been there and I’ll be there again and it’s very hard to forgive if you’ve been hurt in unimaginable ways. I pray you can release that pain to Jesus and feel joy again. Don’t take the responsibility of holding onto that, let God take care of that and you. Thats why He sent his Son to die on the cross, for us and for all the pain this fallen world may cause. That is just too much for us to bear.
Much love to you today.
Pardon, victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding offense, let go of negative emotions such as revenge, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
a legal term for absolving or giving up all claims on account of debt, loan, obligation or other claims.
wipe slate clean, to pardon to cancel all debt