What Does Forgiveness Really Look Like

September 29, 2014

Did I Really Forgive?

We all face it. Heartache. Hurt. Unforgiving attitudes.

No one is exempt. 

So how do you know if you have really forgiven that person of whatever wrong was done to you? Most of us (me included) will say with our lips, I have forgiven them. But have I forgiven them in my heart?

How do you know that answer?

Well for one, if you have truly forgiven someone you will have a heart to pray for them.
You will be burdened to pray blessings into their lives, change in their circumstances, a soft heart towards God. 

A little story: I was sexually abused at a young age by a very trusted and loved family member. When I finally forgave this person (23 years later) I began to feel a pull to pray for their salvation. Only God could have put that into my spirit to do this. If I had not truly forgiven I would not have been in the right attitude to pray for them.

Secondly, if you have not forgiven a person, thoughts of self righteousness will emerge.
"They owe me an apology"
"I deserve better than that"
"It wasn't good enough"
You get the idea. The offender owes you something in return for your hurt. 

Another way to tell if you harbor unforgiveness (I am guilty of this one myself) is this person will grate on your nerves for any and every reason. You cannot stand to be around them, they talk to fast/slow, they are always doing this/that, why can't so and so just be like this??

Here is what the Bible has to say about this subject:
"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" Ephesians 4:30-32

Love and grace should cover every facet of your life towards every person in your life. Unforgiveness causes all kinds of trouble that we do not even recognize. 

If you cannot look at a person with love, spread some grace, and see the blessing they are to your life- you my friend may not have let that hurt go!! If you are bitter toward that person, talk negative about them, and get angry with them for small offenses- unforgiveness is the culprit. 

I know I am calling the kettle black here, but sometimes when sharing my heart about an issue allows the Lord to deal with my wretched heart. When I minister, I get ministered to. It's amazing how God knows what we need and how to give it to us. 

So friends, if you find yourself being negative towards a loved one, friend or offender- check yourself and pray "Lord, have I truly forgiven them? How do I let this go for their sake, my sake and for the glory of God?"

Trust me on this- being the bigger person and saying "I'm sorry" even if you did no wrong is like eating a huge piece of humble pie. But you will gain a blessing for it. You actually release yourself from unnecessary grief and heartache. The other person may have forgotten all about what they did-and the more you stew on it, the worse off you are. 

Remember this: 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.-Psalm 34:18

The Lord is on your side. Trust Him. Allow Him to work in your heart. Allow Him to help you forgive. After all, He has forgiven you when you did not deserve it!!


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