Whenever I have a speaking engagement or an opportunity to talk about my book, Revelation at Cliff House the question always comes up “how were you able to forgive?” my response is almost always the same, I was able to forgive because I want God to forgive me. The Bible says forgive and you shall be forgiven. However, forgiveness is not as easy as I make it seem in that statement. I have done a lot in my life that I needed forgiveness for, things that would probably not make a mother proud. I learned however, when you become older the hurt becomes deeper and people who you never expected to hurt you betray you, and that their are bigger opportunities to be hurt, like falling in love or confiding in someone you thought you could trust like a family member or best friend. As an adult the secrets or more than say cheating on a test in class, or kissing a boy behind the bleachers in high school.
That’s why the older we are the the harder it is to forgive. In my adult years it became harder for me to forgive as well, I had to start studying more on forgiveness and getting before God for help because, although I wanted to be forgiven there were times I did not want to forgive. The desire to be forgiven sometimes was not enough to get me to forgive. I felt like if I forgave them it was like I was giving them a pass to hurt me, or by not retaliating it left the door open for them to hurt me again. I am a firm believer that if you suffer no consequences for bad behavior it will be repeated. Also the desire for revenge to see them hurt the way I was hurt often kept me from forgiving. There were times to, when I wanted an apology, and for whatever reason that is not always possible, yet we still must forgive.
Then God spoke to me in his word and in my quiet time with him and he told me forgiveness is not for the other person, forgiveness is for you. Let me explain, when we hold on to Unforgiveness we remain stuck, and the unforgiveness turns into bitterness and resentment and it consumes us so we are unable to move forward, preventing God from healing us from our hurt, pain and suffering. God can not operate in our lives while we are holding on to past hurt and pain of unforgiveness. Also God says vengeance is mine, if we forgive and release the person God can step in and do his job, if we are in the way trying to fix things he can’t and he won’t. Gods desire is that we live a life free, letting go of unforgiveness is one way to achieve that life.
Also forgiveness is an act of obedience as I mentioned earlier forgive and you will be forgiven, that means do it because God says do it. Forgiveness is not a feeling where you can wait until you’ve gotten over the hurt and say ok now I forgive you because enough time has past, that’s not the way it works, you have to make the choice to forgive. Nine times out of ten you will not feel like forgiving the person however, you have to make the choice and trust God to handle the rest, I promise he will do it because, I’ve seen him do it in my life. When I finally grabbed hold to the principle of how forgiveness works and experienced the freedom that comes from letting go of the baggage that comes from unforgiveness, it changed my life.
I encourage anyone who is dealing with unforgiveness to step out on faith, trust God to do what he says he will do, and let go of the pain, hurt, bitterness and resentment that unforgiveness has left behind. I assure you God will do a work in your life and you can live the life of purpose, God ordained for you the day you were born.