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  • Writer's pictureDiane Alvarado

Set Free! - Forgiveness Series Part 2

Updated: Apr 7, 2020


Many people who suffer from an unforgiving spirit do not even know that

is the root of their problem. All they know is that they try to distance themselves from that certain person. Some even find themselves wanting to lash out when particular subjects are discussed. They lose their temper over little things and constantly struggle with anger towards that person. All these feelings and emotions are often woven together into a fabric of unforgiveness. To be emotionally free, you must forgive.


The benefits of forgiveness are primarily for you. In many cases, there's really no direct benefit to the person you are forgiving. Your forgiveness may enable them to forgive you, themselves, or others. But the greatest benefit is to your relationship with that person. Forgiveness restores your freedom to love, your freedom to communicate and your ability to be together. So, let's look and see what the Bible says about it.


CHRIST COMMANDS US TO FORGIVE

Paul wrote, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians: 4:32). Paul was reminding the early church what Jesus had vigorously and repeatedly taught. As a part of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned' (Luke 6:36-37). The word pardoned may also be translated "forgive." Note that Jesus' commands are straightforward. There are no ifs, and's, buts, or maybes about them.


The Lord went on to say, "For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return" (Luke 6:38). In other words, the degree to which you forgive is the degree to which God the Father will forgive you.


Jesus even included forgiveness as apart of what we know today as the Lord's Prayer. He said, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors". Jesus even took it further in the book of Matthew; "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions" (14-15).


That is one of the most important statements in the Bible. In both passages of scripture, Jesus makes it our responsibility to forgive others before we seek forgiveness from God. Too often, people try to do it the other way around. We ask the Lord for the grace that we have refused to extend to someone else. But Jesus reversed the order. Forgive others, and then ask God to forgive you.


Just to be clear, Jesus is not referring to salvation here. The forgiveness of our sins at the time we receive Him as Savior and begin to follow Him as Lord is a onetime event sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus is saying is that my unwillingness to forgive someone else, my refusal to lay it all down, places me in a position where the heavenly Father will not forgive me of my sin. This has nothing to do with salvation, which is a settled issue. This teaching of Jesus has to do with our daily walk.


If we hold on to anger against someone else, we will not be in right relationship with God, which is a sin. By not forgiving the person who hurt us, we dig deeper into these feelings of hostility, bitterness and anger. We may try to rationalize it away. In fact, many of us live with rationalization for way too long. But the truth is that unforgiveness is a critical, detrimental, and destructive attitude that absolutely will destroy your life and separate you in your fellowship with God.


Try an exercise. Take two rocks and hold one tightly in each hand. Whatever you do, do not let go of them or loosen your grip. Hold onto them as tight as you can. Your hands may get tired, but do not let go. Of course, you will still have to go about your daily routine and holding onto these stones will most definitely interrupt your tasks, but again, do not let go. You will have to cook, clean, drive, eat, dress yourself, take care of your kids or others, and everything else life calls you to do with the stones still in your grip. How difficult would that be?


Those stones are like the unforgiveness you are holding in your heart towards the other person. When you refuse to forgive, every aspect of your life is limited in some way. If you want to return to full function and reach your hands toward God to receive all He desires to give you, then you must forgive that person. The Lord's plan is for you to release that person from your grip and forgive them, so you can receive from Him.


Sometimes, forgiveness is SO hard to do and you ask how? How can you forgive this person? What he/she did is unforgivable.


Forgiveness is the most positive and productive action a person can take to erase the pain of past hurts. Be free of them. Get your life back, unhindered by holding on to pain.


Like the Disney movie Frozen says, "Let it go".



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