Forgiveness

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.  – Mahatma Gandhi

To forgive would mean for one to take action within one’s own self to get over a feeling of hurt and anger toward someone who has offended them. Forgiveness is not always earned or deserved even, but an inward action to show love and mercy, in which we all should give more of and we all should be shown more of in return. 

We see an example in the Bible in Matthew 18: 21-35 of what Jesus says about forgiving one another. Peter is asking Jesus how many times should he forgive a brother who has sinned against him. Jesus answers with a parable in which a king went to settle the accounts of his servants. The one who owed ten thousand talents (a HUGE sum that could never be repaid) fell down before him begging for he and his family to not be sold, that he would pay him back if the king could only have patience with him. The king, knowing good and well that there was no way the amount owed could be repaid, had mercy, was moved with compassion,  and forgave him of ALL that he owed.

What did that servant go and do? What would you have gone and done?

The servant found someone who owed him and demanded he pay him back.  Well, that servant fell to his knees and begged him to have patience with him and he would pay him back but the servant threw him into prison.

This sounds extreme, but don’t we do the same thing in our culture today? I am sure you can think of a time where you needed forgiveness, truly repented and felt terrible and were forgiven and yet have condemned someone else? OR maybe you’re the one begging for forgiveness and yet the other person hasn’t given you any mercy or forgiveness?

So the parable continues with the other servants that had observed the forgiveness given to this man and then watched him turn around and treat the other servant as he did, they told their master. His master was angry, delivered him into torture until his debts could be paid and then reminds us all in vs 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

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If we cannot forgive as we have been forgiven, how can we communicate with the God who created us, who has forgiven us over and over again? Who are we to think we have that much power? Mark 11:25 says, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior, it prevents your heart from being destroyed and it prevents your prayers from being hindered. 

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We are commanded to forgive as He has forgiven.
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We are to have a limitless forgiveness. 1 Corinthians 13:4,5 “Love suffers long.”

I get it, forgiving others is harder for some than others. While my husband tends to take some time before making the step of forgiveness when someone wrongs him, I am the opposite. But as a couple, we help balance each other in many ways, this being one of them. Once someone has broken his trust, it could take a good bit of effort before he lets them back in to his life, whereas I, for example, give chance after chance hoping for the best. However, forgiveness doesn’t always lead to being able to trust someone again. Situation dictates of course. 

My husband and I sat down to talk about this and I would usually say that this very attribute that I have, to be able to forgive and forget, can and has caused me to become weak and vulnerable to being hurt continuously. It also takes great strength mentally to be able to overcome the hurt, in which is evident and move past it. It is freedom from past hurt that allows me to move forward in life which is something that he admires. He also forgives, but may still hold on to the hurt making him reserved and harder to trust not only that person again but others that come into his life. We see this as strength as well. He is not naive and would not become subjective to being taking advantage of.

Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves – to get well and move on. It is not letting them have power over you. It is the ability to stand on one’s own integrity and break free from playing the role of the victim. If one chooses not to forgive, they hold on to the past and may hinder the growth he/she may have for the future and making themselves a better person. In the words of Tyler Perry, “When you haven’t forgiven those who hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.” While we will still encounter troubles by others in our future, when we can move forward, we gain peace, calmness, and control of our own life, as we are the only one who can control it.

{For one who may have a hard time forgiving others may build bitterness and resentment leading them to an unfortunate and unhappy life. Research even proves this to bring depression and illness in those lives.}

Don’t let a lack of forgiveness rob you of the joy that God has in store for you. Choose to live out the example that Hebrews gives us.

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4 thoughts on “Forgiveness

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  1. Many amazing points made. Very powerful post. 🙂 The one thing I disagree with is I don’t think forgiveness is for ourselves. I do agree it frees us. Especially in circumstances where people have hurt us and they just do not care it definitely has more personal reasons. But I feel that like the world teaches forgiveness is for self and that’s a problem because as you previously shared those reasons are not reflective of real love. So when people forgive solely for self I feel in most cases it is not genuine. If the issue is brought up or the offending person then those old feelings rise again. The power in forgiveness is not meant to be one sided. It is meant to help us love others beyond pain and let go. This is not easy. You may not have meant it in this way, I just wanted to add to the discussion. 🙂

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    1. True. I have a lot of experience in this, as a lot of us do. I am a forgive and forget kind of person and sometimes it is a strength but sometimes I just need to let go and move on. Because like you said, the old feelings can arise again and again. However, if someone hasn’t apologized or even someone who has but hasn’t changed – I don’t have to accept them the same way I once had. If a thief robs my home – I don’t invite that thief back in but I can have mercy and not hatred toward them. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you trust someone again, but it can mean freedom from holding grudges or resentment in which both only harm yourself.

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      1. Absolutely!!! Loving someone beyond the pain does not mean we invite them back in the way we once did. Forgiveness does not mean we can’t have a lack of trust, for example, in someone. If someone broke our trust they have to earn it. We are told we do not have to have our pearls trampled and I found great comfort in this when I was working on forgiveness with an ex friend. Things do not have to go back to what they were, not at all. And we are allowed to shake off the dust and move on. 🙂 absolutely!

        Liked by 1 person

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