4 Myths about Forgiveness
Forgiveness. For some people, the mere word makes them cringe. For others, the word conjures up images of the father embracing his wayward son from the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus in Luke 15. Forgiveness is an intentional act of obedience toward God.
It is said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.
Following are 4 Myths About Unforgiveness that you can break today!
Forgiveness is not forgetting The Bible tells us in Psalm 103:12 that God has “removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west”. This is one way God shows His grace and love for us. It lets us know that our identity is no longer attached to, or associated with, our sins. Our sins are removed from us because Jesus paid the price for our sins. God says “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” This beautiful gift from Isaiah 43:25 shows us that it is not by our own merits but by God’s love for us that he does not hold our sins as a debt to be paid now or in the future. We are truly free. This gift also serves as an example of how we are to approach forgiveness.
Can we forget? We are human, and God does not expect us to “forget” the sins we have committed or to “forget” sins that others may have committed against us. Even if we wanted to, we are incapable of truly forgetting. What God does ask is that we obey his command to forgive. Instead of plotting for revenge or wallowing in the grief of how others have hurt us, we find a hint about thoughts we should think about from Philippians 4:8 which says; “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
One reason God does not expect us to forget about our sins or those committed against us is because He wants us to use our testimony to help others. We couldn’t do that if we “forgot” the experiences that make up our unique life stories. He also wants us to use those experiences so that we can become overcomers and show the enemy that we are free from the bondage of sin and shame. Only forgiveness can do that.
Forgiveness is not a feeling Many people believe that they should only offer forgiveness if they truly “feel” like they have forgiven someone. Satan would love nothing more than to have them keep on believing this lie. However, forgiveness is an act of obedience, not a feeling. When we obey God, we allow Him to work miracles.
Amazing things can happen when we forgive ourselves or others. First, the act of obedience gives God permission to act in us. He immediately begins to work on our hearts. He heal the hurts and removes the damage caused by our sins or the sins of others. We also free God to work on the other person or people. When we release the “grip” of unforgiveness we had against someone, God can begin His work in them. It is up to them to accept His gifts, instructions, or forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not dependent on anyone else We are only held accountable for what God asks each of us to do. If someone has hurt us, but never asks for forgiveness, we can take the first step and simply tell God that we forgive them. This is especially true if others have not or will not confess their sins. It is also for people who don’t realize they are in the wrong. Even if someone has died, or if circumstances make it impossible for you to talk to them, healing is still available for you!
Forgiveness is an intentional action that happens when you do one of the following:
- Ask someone to forgive you (they may choose or deny to forgive you)
- Someone asks you to forgive them (you can choose or deny to forgive them)
- You confess to God that you forgive someone (God will bless this act)
- You confess to God your sin of holding unforgiveness. (God will always forgive)
Forgiveness is not optional
Jesus tells us that we need to forgive others who have trespassed or sinned against us. However, we are also told that we must forgive in order that we can be forgiven. This is a hard pill to swallow. Many people become upset about what they consider to a conditional offer. Especially when someone has gravely harmed us or if what they did was so vile that we think we are giving them a “free pass” if we forgive them.
Remember, forgiveness is only about your act of obedience. It does not mean you seek a relationship with the person who harmed you nor does it require you to see the person face to face. In situations where someone has caused deep physical or emotional harm, remember, forgiveness is about obeying God so YOU can be healed.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
Prayer for Forgiveness: God, according to your word, I need to forgive others so I can be forgiven. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross to pay the debt for my sins and for the sins of the earth. I forgive insert name/names for committing name the sin against me. Forgive me for committing name the sin against insert name/names. Thank you for the healing to come and for making me whole again. I ask that you bless my enemies and turn them to you. Amen
The instructions about forgiveness that God has provided are so that we can operate in the best possible condition for our own health and well-being. We all have free will, so He will never impose His will on us. However, it is His desire that we walk in His ways and that we desire to possess a forgiving spirit.