You are most welcome to another time in God’s presence. Each time the Word of God comes, it comes new to refresh and edify your spirit, soul and body. This month, I will be teaching on the topic: Forgiveness. The Bible says, Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men (Romans 12:17).Forgiveness is essentially the act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, ‘Forgiveness’ literally means ‘to let go’, as when a person does not demand payment for a debt. Jesus used this comparison in His parable of the unmerciful slave (Matthew 18:23-35), as well as when He taught His followers to pray, And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil (Luke 11:4).
The Bible teaches that unselfish love is the basis for true forgiveness since it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). Forgiving others means letting go of resentment and giving up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered. Forgiveness is at the very heart of the gospel. Colossians 3:13 states, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. We were born sinners against God, but He loved us enough to send Christ, His Son, to die for us. In the same way, we are commanded to forgive those who do wrong to us, not just those who are asking for forgiveness or those who are first-time offenders or whose wrongs seem forgivable. Jesus famously told Peter in Matthew 18 to forgive someone ‘seventy times seven’ times and He makes the sobering statement that if we do not forgive others, our Father in heaven will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15).
Steps to True Forgiveness
- Acknowledge the pain: Working through pain can only happen once you admit you have been hurt. So, acknowledging this can intensify the feelings. Tears, feelings of resentment and ruminating thoughts are good indicator that something is wrong. Do not numb yourself or ‘stuff’ the emotion down, as that cuts off the process of forgiving others before it began.
- Remember God’s forgiveness: Reminding ourselves of the debt that God forgave us in Christ when we certainly did not deserve it can help us forgive others. If we have been forgiven so much, how then can we hold onto grievances committed against us? This is another step in the process, and it does not mean you must be ready at this point to voice your forgiveness to your offender.
- Let go of the hurt: The devil is an expert at getting a foothold when we have made a choice to forgive, but the wound is still sensitive. Do not allow yourself to replay the offence over and over; let go of the pain and determine that you are going to choose to move forward. This is where prayer is essential because, on our own, we are tempted to wander back to unforgiveness.
- Continue to forgive: Forgiveness is more than just saying a prayer and moving on. It is a serious decision that you make over and over again. The process will most likely be uncomfortable and painful, but it will always be worth it in the end.
- Pray for the person who hurt you: In Matthew 5:44, Jesus commanded us, But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Ask God to reveal His love to your offender in your heart and to dissolve negative emotions. Is there any more powerful witness of God’s transforming grace than someone who can display true forgiveness to the ‘unforgivable?’ With promises found in Scripture like Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me and Romans 12:21, Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good, we know we can depend on God for the grace to live out forgiveness. Make the right choice – start a journey of forgiveness today, pray and ask the Lord to equip you for this difficult but eternally rewarding task.
- Make a quality decision: Forgiveness is about more than saying a prayer like, ‘Lord, I forgive’. It is a serious decision that you make over and over again. It will probably be uncomfortable or even painful, but going through this process will always be worth it in the end.
- Depend on God: Fortunately, God has given us the strength to forgive. Also, we can live with a prayerful mindset and attitude by saying, ‘Lord, help me not to be offended today, keep me from unnecessary anger. If I am offended in anyone, give me the grace to forgive them’ (Ephesians 4:32). If you are easily offended, or there is a person in your life who just annoys you, not only do you have to decide to forgive and live in peace, you have to depend on God for the grace to do it and make it a matter of prayer.
Therefore, you have to consciously make the decision to let go because God has given you the strength to forgive. However, this cannot be achieved in the flesh; you need the help of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, you must be born again for the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. If you are not born again, kindly say this prayer in faith: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me with Your Blood. I accept You as my Lord and personal Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Thank You for delivering me from sin and satan to serve the living God, and thank You for accepting me into Your Kingdom.
Congratulations! If you prayed this simple prayer of faith with me, you are now born again and a child of God. He loves you and will never leave you. Therefore, read your Bible daily, strive to make peace with all men, obey God’s Word and seek a Christian fellowship (John 14:21). With this, you are guaranteed all-round rest and peace, in Jesus name! Call or write to share your testimonies with me through email@example.com, 07026385437 OR 08141320204.
For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Holy Spirit Your Helper and Growing in Grace.