Tag Archives: forgiveness

the importance of forgiveness

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis

I’ve written on the topic before and, while I’ll be referencing earlier posts (here and here), some of this is new; a part of the truth I’m just beginning to grasp.

Forgiveness

That one act/word has been a constant in my life this last year (and beyond, now that I think about it).

Forgiveness is not a feeling. No, it definitely is not.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget. I probably won’t. What good would that be if I couldn’t use what I remember to help others walk through similar situations?

Forgiveness is not pretending you weren’t hurt. And I was. Deeply.

Forgiveness is not trusting the person again. I may or may not… Only God has the power to redeem and restore relationships, but I can’t do that on my own.

Forgiveness is not really even reconciliation, although it does play a part later…and that’s if both parties are willing to let bygones be bygones, to set those feelings of resentment aside and give it another shot.

Forgiveness is an act; a decision you make to obey God and in the process, allowing him bring healing to your heart.

Forgiveness hurts.

And no one can make you do it.

Forgiveness is a choice.

God can’t make you do it.

Again, forgiveness is a choice.

We each must individually decide to give up our perceived right to hurt the other person back. We must forgive because God has forgiven us much.

“God’s grace and forgiveness, while free to the recipient, are always costly for the given… From the earliest parts of the Bible, it was understood that God could not forgive without sacrifice. No one who is seriously wronged can ‘just forgive’ the perpetrator… But when you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness, then, is costly.” Timothy Keller

Forgiveness is letting it go, taking on all of the bitterness of the situation and allows God to handle the justice part in his perfect timing, even though we would probably rather see that person squirm right now.

Forgiveness is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight… Oh, I believe we can get there with Jesus’ help, making it more of an attitude or a lifestyle rather than an act we do every now and then.

Forgiveness takes time.

It is an act of grace that reflects God’s treatment to me. When I forgive, I release that situation, those people, to God, who will work directly on that other person, probably persistently, and in his time; his good and perfect time.

That is one thing I’ve had hammered home this last year… I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning what it means to forgive.  He’s been messing with me big time in that department.

Not only has he affirmed his love for me; he’s held my hand through the ups and downs this year has tossed my way.

These last seven years have been quite the wild ride. I’ve been learning to forgive and let go. I’m learning to forgive those who were horrible to me when I was a kid,  to forgive my dad for his shortcomings, roommates for selfish actions and words said in heated moments, a young man who rarely gave anything in return, extended family members…the list goes on. I’ve also been learning to be just a tad bit kinder to myself; to forgive myself.

Priscilla Shirer in The Resolution for Women writes that if we refuse to forgive ourselves (or allow Jesus to do the forgiving), we are saying that we he did on the cross wasn’t enough.

It was enough; more than enough. What he did on the cross, the price he paid, will always be enough.

“…We must say to ourselves something like this: ‘Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us – denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him – and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely…” (Timothy Keller)

That is what forgiveness does.

Wen you truly forgive, the love of God flows freely into your life and through everything you do. When your decisions are not controlled by the other person’s behavior (or your resentment toward them), you have forgiven. When you’re free from the pain, anger and feelings of hatred toward that person and you find yourself experiencing God’s peace, you have truly forgiven. When you’re able to let that person go rather than allow those same feelings (the pain, anger, resentment, etc.) have a hold over you, you have forgiven.

Forgiveness has the power to redeem.

Forgiveness has the power to renew.

Forgiveness, through Christ Jesus, has the power to restore me. It has the power to restore you. And, through forgiveness, Jesus can restore relationships, but only if the other party wants a restored relationship. If they don’t, you simply have to let go and move on.

And that’s what I’m doing now.

December has been a month of realizations and I refuse to be held back by something I cannot control any longer. I can only control me and I, for one, want to live. I don’t want to spend my life waiting…. waiting… waiting… I want to live while waiting, not stand at a standstill.

Forgiveness is allowing myself to move on, but not forgetting. In forgetting, you say that it didn’t happen. It did. I’ve learned from those situations that have affected my life and I will remember, but not in a way that keeps me bound. The remembering enables me to help others who are walking through or will walk through similar situations. There is love in that.

There is freedom in that.

a place to start

Starting anything seems to be the hardest part for us.

How often have you thought that you needed to begin a diet and exercise program but this week doesn’t seem like the right time to begin? Or you found that if you started on Monday, come Tuesday you had already fallen off the wagon? (I’ll let you in on a secret: Start on a Saturday…you’re welcome.)

Most of us know at least three things that, if we did them, would immensely improve our lives. Maybe one of those things would be to do a better job at managing our money, or spend more time with our family, or decide once and for all that we’re going to change careers, go back to school, or start a business.

Not having enough information is rarely the problem. We just never get started.

I’ve struggled with this too, in the fact that I have multiple dreams and goals I would love to see met in my life. I have all the facts. I know what to do. I just get hung up on all of the “buts” that tie into each idea.

Allow me to elaborate on that one word for a moment. 

I’ve had many opportunities to talk with friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances about their life goals; they willingly and readily share the processes they need to go through get there or the ideas they had on how to get there but…

There’s always a “but.”

I stumbled on several articles just this past week on the power this one word has on all of us. An interesting power, actually. Whenever the word “but” is used, people tend not to remember anything that was said before it.

For example, your boss asks you to join him in his office late on a Friday afternoon. The conversation begins like this: “We have really appreciated your work for our company these last several years, but…

or

“You did an excellent job heading up the project for such and such, but…”

Or maybe, a young man receives a text message from a girl he’s been seeing and it reads: “I have really enjoyed dating you these last three months, but…

See what happens there?

Hearing that one word removes everything before it from our memory and we tend to focus on everything that comes after it.

Isn’t that strange?

Unfortunately, we tend to do the same when it comes to Jesus and the free gift of grace He offers. Sin possesses the same kind of power that one word. Sin is the negation, the “no” that attempts to blot out the truth Jesus Christ offers.

Sure, Jesus loves me, but I’m a sinner.
The Bible says all are saved by faith in Jesus Christ but I’ve done too much.
I know Jesus can do much through me, but I need to fix me before He can do anything.

But…

We forget everything else that comes before that one word.

We forget the price He paid.

We forget that He covered everything with His blood.

No sin is so far removed that it hasn’t been covered.

In The Gospel of Yes, Mike Glenn writes, “The memory of past sin and the realization of current sin loom large, blocking out our view of the work Christ is doing in our lives today. Sin has a way of making us forget the goodness of God. Sin denies the presence and power of God in us and our world.”

Satan uses our awareness to twist the truth of grace; to blind us. He uses our sin to trick us into believing it has more power than it really does. Sin devalues us as people and causes us to see others and all creation as lacking worth. It belies the good work Christ does in us and in the world.

Jesus gave His life for you; sin has no power. Death has no sting.

We all have a past. We have things in our lives that cause shame or grief (tools used by Satan to keep us down). We forget the promise of forgiveness and the second chance(s) that Christ offers.  We have a hard time believing that a second chance could still apply after all that we’ve done.

I struggle with my past and my sins just as much as the next person. Satan uses those things to blind me; to trick me into believing that it has more power than it really does.  He has a thing about keeping me down.

But how does one overcome that “but” in their life?

First, we must let go of the lie; the one that we aren’t worth it; that the second chance does not apply.

Second, we must confess and repent and not the way many have preached/taught since the birth of the church. We don’t simply show up to confession, list off our sins and go on our merry way. Grace does not work that way.

It’s about the combination of confession and repentance. True confession and repentance cannot exist without the other. There is a vast difference between the two and yet, they play a very important part in the process of forgiveness. We are very familiar with the term forgiveness. How many times have we been told to simply confess our sin(s)? There is a certain emphasis on God’s forgiveness as a free gift, and in emphasizing it, we unknowingly cheapen it. We hop, skip and jump right over repentance…which includes confession and so much more. It goes beyond simply confessing sin to a definite change in how a person approaches life.

Grace extended/Forgiveness is not a do-whatever-I-want-and-get-away-with-it ticket.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. We did nothing on our own to deserve it and, yet, He freely offers it. We are saved by grace, not by works (Romans 11.6). We cannot save ourselves. Only God can and He did. Through His Son, Jesus.

He paid it all. No part of that debt has been left for any one of us to pay by working hard and cleaning up our own lives. We cannot do that on our own. Jesus opened the door. We only have to walk through it. And yet…we struggle with accepting the truth that this gift, the gift of salvation, is free. Who would give away something like that? So we think we have to earn it.

Here’s a nugget of truth that makes my heart and soul smile: The mess you are in, the mess I am in, is why He came.

Jesus isn’t unaware of the brokenness of this world or the circumstances of your life. He knows better than anyone that we cannot fix it ourselves.

He came. He gave.

Everything

Himself

His life

All He wants in return is you…

Me…

Us…

We must allow Him, through that repentance, to change our minds. After confessing sin, a person turns from his or her previous lifestyle and commits to following Jesus. This isn’t easy. It’s something that happens daily; a moment-by-moment decision we must make on a constant basis.

It’s about living out the following:

Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost and destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9.23-26 NLT

or from The Message:

Then he told them that they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat – I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels.”

Our minds are transformed when we allow Him a place to start.

Things are not perfect and they won’t be in this fallen, beautiful world we live in until the day of His return. All God is looking for is a place to begin.

A place to start

Jesus Himself took challenges and difficulties in stride. They gave no reason for Him to change course.

When He had been preaching to the five thousand men and their families, Jesus worked with what he had to feed them: two fish and five loaves of bread. He started there.

And when He met the Samaritan woman at the well, He did the same. In Jesus day, men did not speak to women in public – not even their wives – and they definitely didn’t speak with Samaritan women. Jesus did. He came to her in her need. He started there. He opened her eyes to God and His truth: That her being a Samaritan did not lessen God’s love for her. He told her about her life; He didn’t tell her to first get her life straightened out and then come back. He said, in effect, “This is who you are…This is what is going on right now in your life… And this is a good enough place to start.”

“Starting seems to be the hardest part for us…there is always a cost associated with changing your life.”

All Jesus really wants is a place to start.

True change isn’t about you or me trying harder or working on a new plan. It’s not about reading the next best-selling self-help book out there. Until you allow Him to change your mind and your heart, anything you do or attempt to do will be filtered through a mind formed by the ways of the world. Mike Glenn writes, “The Kingdom of God has come near in Christ, so we have to change our minds about love, truth, reality, eternity, Jesus, God, wealth, success, strength, weakness, hope, joy and love. In other words, everything!”

What does that look like in our lives?

Jesus says that we are to love God with our hearts, minds, and souls. To love God is to think in an entirely new way. We think of Jesus in a new way. We see and understand God in a new way as Jesus reveals the Father to us through His Spirit. We transform our minds by spending time in the Word, in prayer and surrounding ourselves with others who believe and want the same things. We grow and are transformed in that; through community, through the body of believers, through His family.

Rather than being buried under our mistakes, failures, griefs and regrets and living in a place where we no longer recognize ourselves when we look in the mirror, we let Him in.

The gift of life that God offers through His Son, Jesus, changes that. When we let Him in; when we let Him take the driver’s seat, the Spirit changes our true identity in Christ. We leave behind everything that is false and start walking toward the truth of Christ and who He created us to be.

But to allow Him the room to change your life, you must allow Him the space to change the way you think. You stop fighting the current of God’s grace and start flowing with it. Once the mind is transformed, the heart soon follows. To be truly transformed, to truly live a new life, our salvation has to be about our entire person, including our minds. This allows us to truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength…and it gives us the ability to love others as we love ourselves. The love we have for ourselves is transformed into the way God loves us…He is our identity.

We no longer condemn ourselves or others.

The truth of the gospel is that Jesus came to offer life; more of life to all of us, no matter what happened before; no matter the choices we made before we met Him. We have been purchased with an immeasurable price. Knowing that should change the way we live.

Peace is more than the absence of conflict and joy is more than not being sad.

We all have a past, but we are not defined by it.

The image of God defines us and the price the Christ paid confirms our worth.

We all have a past and even though you and I have found life in Christ (oh, how I hope you have), no one starts at zero. Our past is part of our story; part of our present and it, along with the choices we make right now, affect our future. We cannot separate it as it serves as our redemption story. The truth of that gives other a testimony of the gospel at work in your life. Jesus is simply asking you to let Him start somewhere. Embrace the truth of Whose you are and to Whom you belong.

The Prayer of One Gently Reminded Soul

I’ll be honest. Life is a struggle.

And a beautiful one at that.

I’ve been reading through Joshua Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and have been moved by a few scriptural points he’s made on the whole topic of purity. It is something we all struggle with. He uses a dream he once had to paint quite the picture of the sacrifice Jesus paid and what it does to our own lives…a story he’s called “The Room” and for your own reading, it can be found here.

Being optimistic by nature, I tend to see the humor and positive things in everyday situations, trials, etc….but when it comes to dealing with my own “junk” and the lack of purity in my own life, I tend to be my own worst critic. Doing so puts me in the worst funk until I let God break through the murkiness of my own making and watch the light of His grace illuminate everything. I slowly begin to realize that it’s all been covered and am reminded again that I don’t have to keep punishing myself for my past, that the guilt is of Satan’s making and I do have the choice to trust that everything is covered.

By His blood.

By His life.

By His sacrifice.

By His unconditional love for a wretch like me.

How humbling.

In the study guide that comes with the book, the author wrote out a prayer that I would like to share with you:

Father..
I went to The Room again today.
There’s part of me that doesn’t like to visit.
There are so many moments, so many careless words,
so many selfish actions I want to forget.
But it’s no longer a place of horror.
I went to be reminded of all that You’ve done for me.
I don’t ever want to forget the crushing weight of bearing my own sin, of having my name on each of those cards.
I don’t ever want to forget what it’s like to be lost
so that I’ll never cease to be grateful for being found.

Forgive me, Jesus, but sometimes I grow
so familiar with Your grace that I take it for granted.

Standing before those files with my every sin recorded, I see what a wretch I am, and Your grace is once again amazing.
I learned something today, too.
I realized that Your grace not only covers my sin but it also makes possible my obedience.
I pulled out a few card files of things I’ve done right: “Encouragement I’ve Given,” “Times I Served Others,” and “Temptations Resisted.”
I saw Your name written on those, too.
I think I half expected to see my own name.
What a fool I am! It suddenly hit me that everything
good I’ve been able to do has been by Your grace.
I couldn’t serve, I couldn’t love, I couldn’t be patient
without Your grace upholding me
and Your Spirit guiding me.

I stood there and cried again. They were happy tears.
I stood there aware that I had nothing to brag
about except Your work in my life.
Your servant Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).
I see what he meant now.
Everything I have, You’ve given me.
You made possible the forgiveness of my sins.
You give me the power to obey.
I have nothing to boast in — no achievement, no righteousness,
no merit — except for Your finished work.
Thank you!

**Bolded emphasis mine.

How many times do we each take His grace for granted? How many times must our stubborn hearts refuse to believe this truth? How many? I’m humbled and reminded again today of all He’s done for me.

I’m covered.

I’m made pure.

I’m free.

And so are you.

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:10

Forgive.

One of the toughest things we are required to do if we are to live a life of love.

Has someone hurt you? Have you been wronged? Have you done the best you know to do and it is still not enough? If you are human and walking among other people in this world, then I’m fairly certain I can hear a resounding “yes” to each of those questions.

As Christians, we know we will encounter people who dislike us, who hate us, who will insult us if we are truly living a life for the glory of God. And I personally pray that that’s true of me. We’ll be launching our church soon and if we don’t get doors slammed in our faces, I would be surprised and ashamed. Persecution shouldn’t catch us off guard. Jesus said it would happen.

What about when a fellow Christian treats you wrongly? It happens. It’s hardest when we endure rebuke, rebuffs, and anger from our brothers and sisters or blood relatives (no matter how close you are to them).

Grudges can divide families and friends. Many things can foster resentment in relationships. But love can prevent and heal resentment. Nowhere is truth better expounded than in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

Love covers a multitude of sins. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love holds no grudge and is not resentful. Just look at the differences between the father and the oldest son in this story. The father focused on the relationship, not his youngest son’s foolishness. His brother, on the other hand, kept a grudge.

I recently went home for a weekend, just to recharge my batteries (the pace of city life can drain a person) when a moment piqued where my entire family seemed to be at odds with each other…the whole five against two scenario. Conflict came from not picking up the phone and making that call instead of sending an email or text. Conflict came in digging up past grievances. From harbored anger. From unforgiven contention-sometimes years/decades old.

Sometimes we come with the best of intentions. We vow to accept irritating behavior; to keep the peace no matter what. Them something happens and it dredges up the previous hurt.

When we are confronted with our own shortcomings, we naturally defend ourselves by dredging up past offenses by those accusing us. We’re guilty of keeping a record of wrongs so that we can produce them when needed. We have to feel more virtuous than others so that we can maintain our self-esteem and avoid being put at disadvantage. So we play a game of tit-for-tat, exchanging accusations until we exhaust the goodwill we have for one another. We keep score because it makes us feel superior to the person/people we resent.

It’s time to let go. It’s time to ask God for the grace to forgive.

In The Love Dare, the Kendrick brothers write, “Forgiveness has to happen, or a successful [relationship] won’t.” (p. 121) Good relationships are not ones in which there is never any hurt, never any disappointment, never any betrayal, never any mistakes…but, those that follow 1 Corinthians 13:5 “keep no record of wrongs.”

How important is forgiveness? According to the Kendrick brothers, “When you forgive another person, you’re not turning them loose. You’re just turning them over to God, who can be counted on to deal with them His way…It’s about freedom.” (p. 123) It’s also about peace. Carrying around a burden of unforgiveness is dangerous. It causes distractions and guilt. Misunderstanding. We each much focus on being in the posture of grace, thinking the best of one another….whether we are married or not.

I’m not. But I’ve chosen now to live in a way that not only honors my friends or the possibility of a husband one day, but God.

We pray for God’s forgiveness by praying the Lord’s Prayer, recorded in Matthew 6: Forgive us our debts and we forgive our debtors (or transgressors, those who have sinned against us, etc). That’s a dangerous request.

Think about it.

When I pray that prayer, I’m requesting that God forgive me just as I forgave my best friend for stabbing me in the back. I have to stop and ask myself, Have I truly forgiven her? Or am I harboring this grudge in my heart…this poison?

Jesus settled this when Peter asked Him how far forgiveness should extend in Luke 17. Peter thought that there should be a sin debt limit. But Jesus says Peter’s approach of limited forgiveness falls short – we have been forgiven so much, so we should give exorbitantly.

Personally, I’m glad God doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. If He did, we all would have been wiped from the planet along with the flood…along with the golden calf…along with wandering forty years in the desert…you get the picture.

Forgiveness is worth it and we can attain it by surrendering the arguing, the winning and losing, the rehearsing of a wrongdoing, the scripting of grievances – and let God do what He promises in Romans 12:19: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. This does not mean that things don’t get addressed that need to be addressed. “It just clears you of having to worry about how to punish them.” (p. 123, The Love Dare) This is not a simple issue. It takes dedication and work on our part to let go and let God.

I had written a while ago on a resolution to forgive. Some may find it hard to forgive if they haven’t forgiven themselves, but know that Scripture doesn’t say that we need to. Jesus has already done that for us and we best remember and focus on that. We must center on the mercy God has shown us. He does not count your past against you. You’ve been forgiven all unrighteousness. So have I. 1 John 1:9-10.

It’s time to love.

Love lets the past die. Love does not seek for justice even though it is in the right. Love wants to wipe the slate clean and start all over again. Love wants a new beginning.

Salvation in Christ results in the healing of painful memories. It is learning to forget what other people did to us and those we love. The power to forget is the power of the Cross. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Love is the power to forgive, to tear up the scorecard, to be reconciled, to leave the final accounting to the judgment and mercy of God. God settled accounts with us on the Cross. Let us leave our wrongs, our resentments, our grudges at the foot of the Cross of Christ. The love of God in Christ conquers all. The Gospel is God’s answer to the ills of the world.

Who in your life deserves the opportunity to earn your trust back and have you wiped away the record of their wrongdoings that you are keeping? Ask God to show you who those people are, and ask him for his grace to forgive them and work on rebuilding the trust in your relationships.  We have been forgiven much by God, pray and ask God to show you how to love by forgiving others as well.

It’s time to let go. It’s time to let God. It’s time to love.

Check out the video of the song “Love Never Fails” by Brandon Heath. The lyrics are taken from 1 Corinthians 13 and it effectively portrays how love should be and is.

Scripture to encourage you in truth today:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ in God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

“Father, forgive for they know not what they do.”

Today’s Challenge: Say “I choose to forgive” and mean it.

Work cited: Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)

A Resolution to Forgive

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Catherine Ponder

Shirer brings attention to the faults we’ve done to ourselves and how we can’t get past those. Some people easily forgive others, but cannot seem to forgive themselves.

Ever been there? I have.

Six years ago, I found myself in a situation I never imagined I would be in. The yearning I had as a young single woman to be an “us” with someone was stronger than ever before. I didn’t know how to tame it, or rather, lock it up and throw away the key until the time was right. I dove head first into a relationship and lost a good friend in the aftermath. In my obsession of trying to forgive myself for letting things go too far on the one end, I was left unable to forgive anyone else that played a part in the mass of destruction of that situation. I couldn’t forgive myself. Period.

Can I let you in on a secret…one that I have to keep reminding myself of each day? The capacity to forgive yourself is personally impossible. I can’t do it. You can’t do it. Nobody can. But take a moment and breathe.

There isn’t a single place in Scripture that tells us that we are supposed to forgive ourselves.

We have no capability, much less responsibility, to forgive ourselves. Take a moment to read Romans 3:23-26.

The forgiveness of our sins is something that Christ suffered a terrifying death to give us. God chose to never recall our misdeeds again. He does not intent to punish us for them.

So why should you?

Think about it. When you say “I can’t forgive myself” means that you don’t fully believe that what He did was quite enough, that in some strange way His forgiveness of you is inadequate. This is the arrogant, hubristic tendency of fallen humanity, refusing to accept that His gift was and still is enough.

It is enough. More than enough.

And only through a gracious acceptance of the gift extended to you through Jesus will you ever really be free – free from the bondage, free from its hold, free to see that you Savior pressed the delete button for your sins when He…walked the road to Calvary…felt the crown of thorns pressed onto His head…took the beating…allows the sword’s piercing…flinched against the nails puncturing His hands and feet…when He hung on Golgotha’s tree.

In accepting this, you have forgiven yourself and you give God the right to forgive others through you.

Imagine purchasing a circus pony. The days of working the circuit are over. But the pony does nothing but wander in circles all day.

Choosing not to forgive someone is like that. The thing haunts you. Defines you. Restrains you. Controls you. It keeps you living life in the same pattern to which you had relegated yourself to for so long. You forget that there’s another way to live. This is the legacy of unforgiveness.

Choosing not to forgive is like choosing to let an open wound fester with infection and not doing a thing to let it heal. Many of us are guilty of letting unforgiveness eat us alive and are professionals at leaving the world around us none-the-wiser.

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 11:25-26

Choosing forgiveness is a lot like pressing the delete key on our computers, backspacing over the accidents and unacceptable actions that have been written on the pages of our lives. Forgiveness means making the decision to incorporate the spoiled residue of the last ones. Pressing the delete key is a choice – a conclusive, one-time decision followed by an ongoing series of smaller yet equally important daily decisions to continue deleting, releasing the desire to hang on to what was done. – Priscilla Shirer

Not deleting it causes the occurrence to hang around and cause trouble.

I’m sure most of you have seen the film Hitch. In it, Will Smith’s character quotes the following:

Live is ten percent what happens to you; ninety percent is how you respond to that ten percent.

True. But how can you be set free? Three ways.

1: Refuse to hold that grudge. If a person has wronged you and you find it hard to forgive, release that person to God. Release all of it.

2: Leave room for God to act on your behalf. Some people will never admit to the wrongs they have committed. Refuse the urge to retaliate – let God deal with them in His timing.

3: Pray. To release others from the debt they owe requires supernatural resources. Pray for it. Pray for all of it. And God will respond.

How about you? Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from? Is there anyone you need to forgive?

Seek God out in this as you choose to live a life of someone who forgives and who has been forgiven.