Victors, Victims & Forgiveness

I wanted to write about forgiveness in the blog post this week.  My problem was that I had this big ugly area in my life where I was holding onto a little bit of a grudge. I had to get it resolved so that I wasn’t being a total hypocrite when I talked to you about forgiveness.  That’s right, I’m just like you.  I face it too.  I also get the wonderful opportunities to wallow in my own self pity.  The thing is though, when you know what to do, God expects you to do what you know.  Have you ever thought about it?  Not doing what you know to do is really just increasing your disobedience to God.  There’s a short word for that, it’s called sin.  This is the reason why I’m publishing late. For those who look for my posts and miss them when they don’t show, I’m sorry.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is releasing someone from debt.  It may be that you were hurt physically from an act of violence or you were hurt emotionally by mean or inconsiderate people. You may actually have a monetary debt that you owe.  Either way you look at it, forgiveness is always tied to debt.  There can be no forgiveness if nothing is owed.

Let’s look at the word “Owe” for a second.  Owe is something that is either earned or comes through entitlement. It’s owed to them, it’s a debt.  This is especially true in the area of respect.  There are some people that we should respect just purely based on their position.  If we can’t respect them, we need to at least respect the position.  This is owed.  It’s due and it should be paid.  If you consider what I wrote about last week about unfulfilled expectations, there are things that we think are owed us but are not.  We think we deserve them but we don’t.  It’s a slippery slope when you start thinking about what you deserve, or you have expectations that you have no right to have.  You need to have a close look at yourself & be honest.  Is it really owed to me?

Forgiveness happens when we release people from the obligation of paying the debt.  We let them off the hook.  Matt. 6:15 says “But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.  Forgiveness for the Christian is not an option.  There is no condition found in the Bible where it’s okay to hang onto unforgiveness.  We see and interesting story in Matthew 18:23-35.  The bottom line of the story is that if the Heavenly Father can forgive what He has forgiven, He’s within His right to expect us to forgive also.

Forgiveness is all about you.  All of the control and responsibility of forgiveness totally rests in your hands.  No one else can do this for you.  If you won’t do it, it won’t get done.  Here are some things that helped me to do the right thing this week.

  1. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  When I hold a grudge, it’s not hurting the person I’m upset with nearly as much as it’s hurting me.  When I forgive, I’m really allowing myself to move on and have some peace.
  2. It always involves making a choice.  Forgiveness always follows the choice to forgive.  I read somewhere this week that when a person says “I can forgive but I can’t forget”, what they are really saying is “I won’t forgive”.  Very often unforgiveness is the very thing that’s keeping you from being able to move forward.  In order to get better, you need to release the debt.
  3. Forgiveness takes away your victim status.  When you are hurt and have not forgiven, you get to be pitiful and feel sorry for yourself.  Don’t be deceived though, that’s weakness.  Strong people don’t feel sorry for themselves.  If you are tired of being a victim and want to take control of your own direction in your life, then you need to stop reacting to what others are doing to you and instead decide how your will respond.  Acting from an decision is way better than acting from an injury.  You are also saying that though this may hurt, it will not be the determining factor in what you do next.  That will come from you and you alone.  Forgiveness is really one of the first steps toward becoming strong.  By forgiving, you are breaking the yoke off of your own neck and taking away the problem or injury’s control over you.

It would be unjust for God to require something from you that you are unable to do.  Since He gives us no options when it comes to forgiveness, we know that:

  1. We can do it.  He would not ask if it were impossible.
  2. It’s important that we do it.  What many people don’t realize is the spiritual implications of not walking in forgiveness.  If you won’t forgive, God can’t forgive you.

“Accept important apologies you never received.  If you love someone and you want to forgive them, Relieve them of the need to apologize to you, for anything.”  www.marcandangel.com

So what now?  I issue this challenge.  In the next 30 days, take at least two practical steps toward resolving unforgiveness in your own life.  There are people who have hurt you or owe you somehow, find a way to let them off the hook.  In the long run you’ll be glad you did.  God’s way is always the best.  What are some practical ways to demonstrate forgiveness?  Let me hear your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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One Response to Victors, Victims & Forgiveness

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks Art for such a much needed teaching on forgiveness. I especially like the comments that forgiveness is for us and that it takes away the victim status from us. This is very true. We can forgive anyone of anything with God’s help.

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