Nobody ever said forgiveness was easy. It's hard to let go of the hurt that we feel or have felt. Oftentimes, we decide to hold onto grudges and pain because we believe we have the right to do so, but what we don't realize is that unforgiveness is damaging us far more than the people who hurt us. Not only does unforgiveness cause problems with ourselves and others, but it is a roadblock that stands in the way of our relationship with Jesus.
It's important to clear up any misconceptions that we may have developed about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not:
— Condoning the sin of another.
— Pretending you were/are not hurt.
— Forgetting and suppressing it.
— Immediately restoring a relationship.
— Relieving the other person of their responsibility.
— A feeling.
It's time to stop waiting for the feeling of forgiveness to come. Instead, it is time to make the decision to no longer let unforgiveness take root in our hearts. When we hold on to grudges and judgments, we allow them to develop bitterness within us and keep us from experiencing God's best.
Take your hurt and pain and give it to God. He is the one who can heal your heart; He is the one who can set you free. When God sent His Son Jesus to die for us, He forgave all our sins. In the same way that He freely forgave us, we must choose to freely forgive others.
We also must choose to forgive ourselves of past sins and things for which we have been judging ourselves. Letting go of past mistakes can be difficult. But God has already let them go, so it is time for us to do the same.
We may need to forgive God. Sometimes we feel anger toward Him when He doesn't do what we want Him to. Remember that God has greater plans for us than we can ever ask or imagine. It's time to forgive Him, relinquish our control and learn to trust Him.
Forgiveness is not an event—it's a lifestyle. It allows us to walk in the freedom and joy God intends for us, and it is an integral part of our journey through transformation in Christ. Listen to Transform Your Life on the Charisma Podcast Network and ask yourself, "Who do I need to forgive today?"
Steve Chua works globally as a pastor, counselor and executive life and leadership coach. His message helps people discover their God-given design and employ strategies to reject false mindsets so they can live with the success, joy and fulfillment for which they were created. Steve resides in Claremont, California, and has been married to his beautiful wife, Barbara, for over 29 years. Together they have five incredible kids!
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