True forgiveness is being able to let go of any wrong done to you. To forgive is not to pretend that nothing happened, it is to acknowledge what must have happened and respond in grace as GOD does to us.
Forgiveness is simply the willingness to let go of a wrong done to you by someone, to stop feeling angry with such person. Such wrongs could include
• A betrayal by a friend- (Jesus and Judas)
• A sexual abuse while growing up
• Uncaring parents who must have abandoned you
• People who say all sort of things about you etc
According to Martin Luther King (Jr), “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on the evil act. It means that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship”
John Mason in his book “Imitation is Limitation” explained that “living a life of unforgiveness is like leaving a parking brake on when you drive your car. It is a drag, it causes you to slow down and lose your momentum”.
Joyce Meyer in one of her books also explained that harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.
When you refuse to forgive, you hurt yourself more than the other person who wronged you. When we forgive, we have the key to personal freedom. Like it’s been said that to err is human, to forgive is divine. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that that prisoner was you”- David McCasland. An action of forgiveness is Christianity in action.
True healing and restoration are impossible without restitution, truth, admitting wrong doings and willingness to make amends. Forgiveness is more for our own sake than that of those who offended us; it releases us from the cage of bitterness and resentment. Truly forgiving can be achingly difficult but by the grace of GOD will it become easy.
Vengeance is not the ideal way to punish our offenders. It is of the Lord’s. Romans 12:19-21- “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give peace unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Two wrong don’t make a right. “There is no revenge as complete as forgiveness”- Josh Billings.
True and complete forgiveness comes not only by forgiving the offender but you also for the adverse effect of the wrong doings and reconciling back to GOD. For all things work together for good to those that love him to whom he has called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28
Good examples of those who truly forgave their offenders are Jesus Christ who forgave the woman caught in adultery, Judas for betraying him, Peter for denying him, the people who crucified him at his death on the cross Luke 23:34- “then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots”. Others include Stephen who forgave them those who stoned him to death at that point in time, Joseph who forgave his brothers who despised him so much etc.
It becomes easier for us to forgive when we recall the things GOD has forgiven us for and realize that your enemies can’t stop Him from blessing you. Remembering GOD’s goodness to you will give you the grace to forgive others and even love them more.
“When we forgive, we pardon the unpardonable. Revenge and bitterness will never be the healing responses to the hatred and rage of a lost world, but the compassion of Christ is just as it was 2000 years ago”- Bill Crowder. If GOD can forgive us our sins at the point we ask for mercy who are we not to forgive others.
“Forgiveness is a powerful thing, bringing a comforting calmness. With it, we can enjoy harmony with GOD’s people, without it the storm continues”- Dave Brannon. When we don’t forgive, our hearts grow hard and cold.
In conclusion, lets pray that the love of GOD which was shed abroad in our hearts to manifest so that forgiveness becomes our lifestyle. Ephesians 4:32- “and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as GOD for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”.