30/30: Life Rules: Free to Forgive

2 11 2007

poison.jpgWhen you don’t forgive someone, it’s like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my life is forgive people. Forgiveness is painful. Why? Every time you’ve been hurt, there is a sense that something has been taken away from you. Often times I’ve felt, “Wait a minute, the other person shouldn’t get off scot-free? Don’t you know what they did to me? The way they hurt me? It’s feels like I am rewarding them. After all they took from me, I’m supposed to give them more. It’s not fair!”

As long as you are focused on the source of your bitterness, you will never be free. Because the person who hurt you cannot set you free. Only your Savior can set you free. They can’t return the years of misery. They can’t give you your childhood back. So why in the world would we spend years, holding a debt over people that they can’t pay back anyway?

Paul, who while sitting in Roman prison, encouraged us with these words, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness is not fair. We don’t forgive because people DESERVE to be forgiven; we forgive because WE have been forgiven. In reality, forgiveness doesn’t make sense unless you have been forgiven. Hear me out. Is it fair that the sinless only begotten Son of God should go on a cross and experience the sins of the entire world? Is that fair? Thank God this world isn’t fair. We forgive and let them off the hook, because our heavenly father let us off the hook. When we begin to realize the depth Christ went to give us unconditional forgiveness…when we begin to realize the hurt we’ve caused Him because of our sin…when I realize what Christ has done for me on the cross, I lose my excuse not to forgive. When the fact that “He forgave me” moves from my head to my heart, it completely changes not just my perspective, but it changes me.

Forgiveness is a decision you and I make regardless of their actions. Forgiveness means that someone doesn’t owe me anymore. Forgiveness says even if I don’t forget it, I will not hold it against you and I will NEVER bring it up again. And when those haunting memories creep back in my mind (and they will), I will use that as a trigger to shift my thoughts to my Heavenly Father and the way that He forgave me.

I prepared for last weeks teaching, a song that moved me was “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill. If you are struggling with forgiveness, let the words of this song move from your head to your heart.




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