One of the hardest things to do is to forgive. To forgive others and to forgive yourself. Many say forgiveness is liberating. In the Bible it states the following: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” -Luke 6:27
There is a reason why the Bible in Luke advises such things. Love and do good, even to those who hate you. God doesn’t allow this scripture because he calls us to be masochists and rugs that people can step on. God wants us to understand that loving those that trespass against us is a good thing mainly for us. When we forgive we feel less burdened, and figuratively speaking, we allow God to open up the flood gates of heaven to adorn us with his grace. Forgiveness is liberation.
Story time: Many years ago I was abused at a very young age. I held this grudge for so long. I didn’t even know it until a few years ago because I taught myself at a very young age to bottle things in. I was able to throw my feelings in a dungeon and throw away the key. I did this all subconsciously. I remember growing up in church and talking about love, grace, my love for God, and my gratefulness because of his selfless sacrifice on the cross, but I felt was lying to myself and others. I just didn’t quite understand that feeling at that time in my life. I was always sad when I was alone, always sensitive when I would hear about anyone else going through what I went through or worst, and I would take in all of their feelings and bottle them up too. One day I cried deeply in the presence of the Lord and I asked him to please allow me the opportunity to praise him in spirit and in truth, in hidden and open places. I wanted nothing to detour me from God. I asked him to seek my heart and to dig out all that may be coming in between a true love for him. I allowed that to be my constant prayer. I wanted God to reveal himself in my life and to remove the things, and the people he needed to remove in my life so that I can live a life that is not hypocritical in any way. Not a perfect life, but a life that would be worth living if I am able to glorify God wholeheartedly, in spirit and in truth. I knew the prayer I prayed would result in changes and a lot of work on my part. I honestly did not know where to begin, but God didn’t leave me alone. I opened up to him so he opened his arms and held me in. He allowed situations to unravel so that I would have to make ultimate decisions that would define a true life with him. I realized in this process that forgiveness is what I needed and what he was calling me to do, not only because God forgave me first, but because forgiveness would lift up the burdens that were weighing me down and would give me the life of liberation that can only be achieved when we allow God to work in us and around us. In my journey of discovery, there was a lot of crying and sadness, but as I stuck to the process that God was allowing me to go through, I started to feel his love and peace which surpassed all of those negative feelings.
This is to say that the process can be long, but God is always waiting for us to take the first step. A step to redemption, liberation, and true encounter with him.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” -Ephesians 1:7
God forgave us first, so who are we not to forgive. It is hard, but everything we put God first in, is always not just doable, it is reachable and successful.
A few things I have learned in the process of forgiveness:
1. Do it to please God first.
2. Don’t expect anything from the person who hurt you in return.
3. Stay in constant prayer.
4. Seek professional help. ( A good Christian therapist will help you in your journey by referencing God’s teachings.)
If you are currently going through something similar and there is a grudge in your heart that you can’t let go of. I encourage you to seek the Lord, ask him to reveal himself to you and to help you break those chains of bondage over your life. A life with Christ is liberating, it is rich in understanding and big in forgiveness. I pray in Jesus name that God would break generational curses of generations of hatred and family issues that have never been resolved. I pray for fullness of the Holy Spirit so that God may abide in you and allow you to feel the peace you long for.
Some of us do not know if there is something holding us back from a life of fulfillment and joy. Most times, we are so accustomed to pushing our feelings to the side that we become ticking bombs that eventually blow up no matter how much time passes by. God wants us to live a fruitful life and a life that is abundant in love and forgiveness.
Let this be your daily prayer.
Father God, I ask that you help me dig deep inside of my heart and take away the things that are not of you. Help me to be more like you each day so that I am able to love with open arms and forgive faster than I ever did before. I know a life with you in heaven is worth living a truthful and spirit filled life here on earth. Father give me the strength when I falter and fail and give me grace when I want to give up. I love you Lord. Amen.
God Bless You! I Love You.
Contributing Writer, Neivis Paulino