Barriers to Forgiving Others

A huge barrier to forgiving others is the misconception about forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Many people believe that by forgiving they will continue to live as doormats allowing sinful behavior when nothing has changed. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Forgiveness focuses on the offense. It only involves one person and has nothing to do with what the other person chooses to do. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship. It requires two people engaged in the process.
Forgiveness is the choice to release the offender. Reconciliation is the choice to rejoin the offender. It’s being brought back into a relationship where there has been a wall of separation erected. Restoration is the process that makes that possible. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It requires confession, repentance, and a strong commitment on both sides to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. And it often takes a much longer time.

For example, if a loved one is engaged in drugs, alcohol, abuse or some other harmful behavior they may ask us to forgive them. Of course, God’s heart is always that we forgive but if they ask that we go back to the way it was the answer is a resounding NO! That’s not what we do at all. Love holds people accountable. Love protects. We do not have to allow harmful behavior that hurt us and our families. Thus, there may be extremely toxic, unhealthy people who may need to be removed from our lives.

An example of this would be a relative who sexually molested us as a child. We can forgive them as God has called us to but having a relationship with them may endanger ourselves and others. So forgiveness does not mean we have to have any kind of relationship with the offender ever again. Forgiveness is an act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free. It’s been said that sometimes you just gotta love people from a distance.” There is great wisdom in that.

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Letting Go of Hurts

People even in the church can behave in very unloving and ungodly ways. They can act out in pride and holier than thou attitudes or lash out in anger, addictions, slander and malice towards others grieving the Holy Spirit in whom we were sealed. It’s easier to judge the sinful attitudes and behaviors on the surface without taking a step back and gain God’s perspective on the matter. But doesn’t Scripture tell us that God judges the heart and not the outward?
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People don’t wake one morning with a hardened heart. What could have happened to an individual who acts out so negatively, rudely and hurts self and others? What kind of hurts are they carrying around inside? Please understand that whatever hurts are buried deep inside a hardened heart does not excuse the sinful behavior. God hates sin, and we are allowed to hate it too. Nevertheless, by peering into the heart of God and seeing things through His eyes, it will help us understand the reasons why people act out and will help us gain compassion and not personalize the sinful behaviors of others.
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Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions create a vicious cycle of guilt and shame. Whatever the coping mechanism, until the root of the hurt is dealt with the wound will continue to fester allowing sinful negative behaviors to continue. God wants to heal your broken heart. No matter what you have been through, God is bigger than anything you have experienced or are experiencing now. No matter where you’ve been, what you have done or what has been done to you … the Master Healer, Jehovah Rapha, can transform your innermost hurts into conduits of His blessings. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can heal and restore you. He only asks one thing…”Do you want to be made well?” Healing is a choice.
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“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30-32

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Let Go of The Past

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Phil 3:13

Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another. So instead of running the race with endurance – they limp along the way.

There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,-negative behaviors – addictions, immorality, anger, etc.

The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing –  often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never deal with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies behind the pain.

Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.

Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10

How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work….sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.

Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go! Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. “ Hebrews 12:1-2

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Releasing You

Nothing is more grieving than loving someone bent on destruction.  Feeling powerless can drive us to insane levels of trying to save our loved ones from the consequences of their poor choices by fixing, managing, and trying to change and control their lives. Often we don’t even realize that we may be hindering the work of the Holy Spirit that convicts, leads them to a place of brokenness, surrender, and repentance.

Our greatness act of love must be to pray, let go and surrender them to God.  When we get out of the way, our loved ones stop looking to us to be their savior and turn to their true Savior Jesus Christ who has the power to heal, restore, redeem and set free.

Whether it’s a spouse, child, sibling or a friend, we must release them to the care of God, yet it’s difficult to do because many of us have a misconception about what it means to let go and release.  The following poem was written by June Hunt. It’s a beautiful picture of releasing.

Releasing You:

Releasing you is not to stop loving you but loving you enough to stop leaning on you.

Releasing is not to stop caring for you but to care enough to stop controlling you.

Releasing is not to turn away from you, but it is to turn to Christ trusting His will over you.

Releasing is not to harm you but realizing my help has been harmful to you.

Releasing is not to refuse you but to refuse to keep reality from you.

Releasing is not to prove my power over you, but it is to admit that I am powerless to change you.

Releasing is not to stop believing in you, but it is to believe the Lord alone will build character in you.

Releasing is not to condemn the past but to cherish the present and commit our future to the Lord.

-June Hunt

To let go means to get out of the way, release our loved ones at the foot of the cross and offer them up to the care of God.

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