The Test of Forgiveness

How do you know if you have truly forgiven those who have hurt you? Do you feel they owe you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt and pain they caused? Do you feel bitter, angry and resentful towards them? Do you think they should suffer for what they did? Do you want revenge?

If you answer yes to any of these, then you have not forgiven in your heart. Holding on to unforgiveness will pollute your heart and allow their sin to continue to hurt you.

Choosing to forgive does not condone their sin. It doesn’t mean there should be no justice. There are consequences to sin, but only God is the righteous judge.

Release the offender to Him and refuse to harbor negative feelings towards those who have hurt you. If you don’t know how to forgive, seek Jesus. He is faithful to put people in our lives that will help us process the hurts so that we can grieve, accept and release them to the feet of the cross so we can forgive from the heart. That’s true freedom.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:23

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Forgiving In Relationships

God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.

And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain. Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross.

We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

Are you struggling with forgiveness? Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends and pursue peace. There is nothing that He can’t do with a willing and surrendered heart.

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Getting Even Will Not Even The Score

When you are hurt and you are wronged by another person you may want to even the score. When you are damaged and broken by another person you may want to undo the damage and fix the brokenness by getting even.

However, the idea of getting even is a false idea put into your mind by Satan and his forces of deception. The truth is there is no true way of getting even with another person. There is no true way of evening up the score by hurting another person for what was done to you. There is no true way of getting even because hurting someone else does not make your own hurt go away.

Hurting someone else does not fix your brokenness. Hurting someone else does not undo a wrong committed against you. However, there is a way to erase the wrong, heal the hurt, repair the damage, and fix the brokenness. You can erase the wrong, heal the hurt, repair the damage, and fix the brokenness by pushing back against wanting to get even. You can push back and heal, repair, and fix the hurt by asking Christ to push with you.

You can push back by asking Christ to help you be forgiving. Certainly, the way of the world is not to forgive. The way of the world is to try to get you to even the score by doing to others the same bad things others have done to you. However, look around you. Look at the results of the way of the world. Now look within your heart where God is within. When you look within your heart…the place within you where God is found, then you will see His way is not the way of the world.

God’s way is the way of giving you healing. God’s way is the way of giving you wholeness. God’s way is the way of giving you rightness. God’s way is the way of giving you peace. To go God’s way means you must use your might, use your will, and use your heart to push in His direction and ask Him to help you forgive.

When you and God both push in the same direction, you win and you do not just even the score into a tie, you do not just win by a slim margin…you win by smashing the adversary back into the ground from where the adversary slithered forward to bite you and poison you.

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The Prison of Unforgiveness

root-of-bitternessUnforgiveness is like taking a drug because it has the same effect on us. It numbs the pain so we don’t have to feel and replaces it with anger, rage, and bitterness. It becomes a coping mechanism to deal with the pain and violations. We become entitled to our unforgiveness not realizing that it hardens our hearts and pollutes everything around us.

See if I have been violated and hurt by someone and haven’t dealt with it I can begin to harbor and overall spirit of unforgiveness and can start to see everything in life through that negative filter, and I can become a compensator in relationships and start to keep score. What I do versus what you do. I can get very resentful.  Unfortunately for them, the poor people in my life will always lose out. Heck, they don’t even know that I am keeping score. They have just come to believe that I am a very giving person but inside I’m very resentful because I have to do all these things for these ungrateful people who probably never even asked me to do anything for them.

Somewhere along the way I took on a compensator role and began taking care of everybody. And I will get very bitter and feel victimized. What happens then is that I will spend my life living behind spiritual bars imprisoned because I’m still living in the reality of the hurts of the past. My past own me. And I will enter all my relationships bringing that wound with me expecting and demanding that I be treated a certain way and when I’m not…Watch Out! It can be brutal.

What happens is that old wound is still speaking into my life, and now it’s infected with anger, bitterness, and resentments. It’s spiritual cancer. Sadly the people in my life are paying the penalty for the sins of those who have hurt me in the past.

Pastor and counselor Dr. Chuck Lynch, author of “I should forgive but” says that bitterness and unforgiveness are like a rock thrown into a placid pond. After the initial splash, it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with. That’s the saddest part of all.

When we hang on to unforgiveness we give power to the person, and they continue to violate us. Furthermore, if we don’t deal with our unforgiveness issues, we can carry our victim mentality over to all our relationships. Making people responsible for our unhappiness and now people have tremendous power and control over us. Be free from the prison of unforgiveness where those who have violate, hurt, or neglected us wield power over us and continue to torment and defile our hearts.  If we don’t get help and release our hurts and learn to forgive, without realizing it we can transmit the disease of bitterness.

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