06 Jul The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is one of the greatest lessons that Jesus taught. In fact, He lived and died for our forgiveness and so we could learn the importance of forgiving. When someone hurts us in some way, intentionally or unintentionally, the act causes pain, frustration, and even anger to take root in our lives. Those feelings can take over if we are not careful, spreading to other relationships and even affecting how we function on a daily basis. Jesus wanted each of His followers to know that opening the door to negative emotions would ultimately interfere with their relationship with Him!
So What Is Forgiveness?
In order to understand why forgiveness is so important we must first understand what forgiveness is. Forgiveness means you’ve acknowledged the hurt or injustice you’ve faced and you are ready to let it go. According to Psychology Today, “Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger toward others to eat away at us.” Forgiveness is not something you are doing for someone else, you are forgiving for your own peace of mind and for your relationship with Jesus. When you hold on to the hurt and anger, you are essentially punishing yourself for what someone else did!
How Can I Forgive Like Jesus?
Forgiving another person is one of the hardest decisions we can make. Forgiving ourselves sometimes seems impossible. And what about forgiving God when we feel we’ve been treated unfairly? In a world with so much pain and wrong-doing, is it possible to forgive for real?
Jesus, as He was telling His disciples how to pray, said:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:9-15)
We Have to Learn to Let It Go.
The Greek word apoluo means “to let loose from.” It gives the impression of pushing away something that is undesirable. That is what forgiveness does. It pushes away those undesireable emotions, opening us to a true relationship with God and with those around us. Unforgiveness is the opposite. It is holding toxic emotions close. No one can do anything of significance in life (in relationships, in business, in your family, in ministry) until they stop running from yesterday. We have to stop thinking about “the way it should have been” and we need to quit asking ourselves, “why did this happen to me?” If you don’t let it go, unforgiveness can:
- Allow anger and cynicism to color every relationship and new experience you have.
- Prevent you from enjoying what is happening right now.
- Lead to depression and anxiety.
if we want to move forward. Forgiveness is the key!
But WHY Should I Forgive?
Forgiveness isn’t for other people, it is for yourself. Forgiveness is God’s way of blessing you. What does it mean to forgive? Here’s how Jesus explained it in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Forgiveness is not a one-time thing. It is ongoing. Jesus freely forgave us of all of our sins, dying on the cross so we could have freedom for eternity. He tells us we are to follow His example and make forgiveness central in our lives.
Letting go, forgiving, can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
How Does Forgiveness Work in Me?
Forgiveness does three things in your life:
- Forgiveness allows God to forgive me for what I have done.
- When God forgives me, I can forgive others.
- Forgiveness sets me free from the pain and disappointment of yesterday!
GOD wants to BLESS you, and He cannot do that if you are NOT releasing the hurts of the past.
This isn’t about others. Forgiveness is all about YOU. It is God’s method for you to clean out yesterday, so you can be clean and powerful for today! It’s never too late to begin again!