Is it possible to find hope in forgiveness? I believe it is! However, forgiveness doesn’t come with an eraser, so it’s not as easy, convenient, or desirous, as we would like it to be. Forgiveness is a process that we must be intentional with. If we aren’t, then the bitter dark roots of unforgiveness take over, and before we know it, we have built walls that hinder other relationships in our lives.
There are three areas of forgiveness: Forgiving others, forgiving yourself, and accepting God’s forgiveness.
Forgiving others: Forgiving someone does not mean you are now agreeing with what was done or said. Forgiveness is not based, on whether or not, the person deserves it.
Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. For reconciliation to happen the offender has to be willing to acknowledge and ask forgiveness. However, if the relationship is unhealthy you can move forward in forgiveness without going back into the relationship you had.
For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your heavenly father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15
This verse tells us that God understands the power that unforgiveness can have in our lives. I believe what this verse is saying, is that we will have broken fellowship with God. Broken fellowship builds a wall between us and God. God never intended for us to carry the burden of unforgiveness.
Forgiving yourself: Until we forgive ourselves we are held in bondage to guilt and shame. It affects relationships, choices, and sabotages our confidence and self esteem.
Forgiving yourself can be as straight forward as:
- Recognize and acknowledge that you made a choice you now realize you would not make again.
- You have learned from that mistake.
- You are repentant. (Repentance is a deep sorrow and regret for any past actions, and a change of mind that results in a change of action)
When past choices come to mind we can choose to dwell on them (which fills our heart and mind with guilt and shame) or we can choose to remind ourselves that we recognize that is a past choice we will not make again, that we have learned from the past, and that our hearts and minds are repentant.
If we confess our sins. He is faithful and righteous to forgive u our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9
Accepting God’s forgiveness: It’s easy to project our feelings and thoughts on how God thinks or may respond to our sin. We lose sight that God IS God and if He handled things like we would, in our sinful flesh, we probably wouldn’t be here today.
It can be challenging to wrap our minds around the truth about God’s forgiveness, especially when we have carried the burdens of unforgiveness, guilt, and shame with us for years.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Forgiveness isn’t based on a “feeling,” it’s based on faith. We must believe we are forgiven by a loving forgiving God.
In Him we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace Ephesians 1:7
As far as the east is from the west, so far He removed our transgressions from us Psalm 103: 12
For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more. Hebrews 8:12
Every situation is different and may require more time to get to the root of the issue. Each time you address a circumstance, whether it is forgiving someone, forgiving yourself, or accepting God’s forgiveness, the burden of unforgiveness will begin to lift as we move forward towards hope.
There is hope in forgiveness!