Unforgiveness robs our joy!
Forgiving those that bring us physical, emotional or spiritual pain seems to be one of the hardest spiritual disciplines. If the harm came on purpose with a concerted effort to hurt us, then it is extremely difficult in the flesh. This pain can be because of a betrayal to a marriage through divorce, lies, all types of abuse, etc.
The Lord told us that we must forgive if we want to be forgiven. When the heart is wounded, unforgiveness seems like a steel wall surrounding our hearts. The urgency to forgive is the beginning of our personal emotional healing.
We may ask, “How can I forgive such deep betrayal and pain?” This is a valid question that God’s truth answers. Sin in the heart of a person is what causes betrayal, abuse, and all sinful actions. Sin came because Adam and Eve were given choice and they chose to disobey God. Through their disobedience, sin entered into the heart of mankind. When anyone sins, it’s because they are serving the god of this world who is Satan.
The reason I explain where sin comes from, many blame God for the pain they are going through. They ask the question, “Where was God? Why didn’t He stop the sin?” God gives all of us choice each day to do good or evil. As a man thinks in his/her heart so is he. When a person does evil, it comes from an evil heart. That is not God’s fault. The fault is the influence of Satan.
So how do we forgive? We forgive as an act of obedience unto the Lord. It’s not based on emotions or feelings. Forgiveness is a decision. We must do it in obedience to God. We can forgive the pain of the offense. We cannot forgive the sin. I didn’t die on a cross for the sins of others. God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, died for all of our sins. The offender must ask God to forgive his/her sins.
When we chose to forgive the pain of the offense, we are setting ourselves free from the past. We are giving the offender into the hands of God allowing God to be our avenger in His timing according to the heart of the offender. We are releasing our judgment into the hands of God. If you, the reader, have been offended deeply, please read this article more than once.
You may need to pray to the Lord several times, allowing your emotions to catch up to your act of obedience. In this process, you will find yourself feeling a lessening of the emotional pain. When we let go and allow God to be our avenger, it is freeing to the soul.
Forgiveness does not mean we must restore the relationship. In many circumstances that could be impossible. If the offending person refuses to recognize the offense, it would be unwise to try and restore the relationship. At times we must set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with an offender to protect ourselves from future possible harm. God understands.
If we refuse to forgive the pain others cause, we will inflict our emotional pain on those around us. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Hurting people hurt people. God says life and death are in the power of the tongue. If you are divorced, please do not allow your hurt to be dumped on your children with negative, harsh words about your ex-spouse or toward your children. If you do, you are sinning against others with your pain. If you have been abused, do not abuse others in any manner. Allow God’s truth to be your healer.
You will know when you have completely forgiven when you no longer have an emotional pain hit your gut at the thought of the offense. God does not erase our memories when we are saved. But by obeying His truth, we can be set free from the pain of the offense by the obedience of forgiving.
We are to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and love others as we love ourselves. If we hold bitterness in our hearts, we cannot love others in a healthy manner because we do not love ourselves with God’s unconditional love. Micah 6:8 instructs us that we are to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly. Forgiveness is doing what is right, loving mercy and walking humbly by totally depending on God, allowing Him to be our avenger, giving Him all the glory. If you desire joy and peace with God and others, please forgive – it’s a gift you give to yourself!
Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, Christian Life Coach, anointed teacher of God’s Word ministering for churches/conferences. She provides counseling nationwide by phone/Facetime etc. (636) 448-0121. Over 440+ articles, teaching CD’s & marriage book are on her website: www.carolclemans.org – 100+ teaching on Carol Clemans YouTube channel. Mins. Ref: Pastor Daniel Batchelor, Dupo, IL.