“You hurt me.”
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Ok. I forgive you.”
Don’t we each hope and wish that it were this simple. Don’t we each wish that this was the end of the story. However, it is not.
Most Christians rarely come close to walking out what it really means to walk in total forgiveness. This means they live out their lives with goals being unaccomplished and emotions being uncontrolled because they do not walk in total forgiveness. In our Lord’s instructions on the principles and patterns of praying, He only returned back to one principle – forgiveness. He teaches us to pray “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 NIV) Then, at the conclusion of this lesson, He returns to this principle. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV)
Not forgiving a person totally only means that you continue to reap upon yourself the guilt, shame, hurt, pain, and stress you have chosen not to free the offender from. You choose to live in a state of emotional complication and confusion. If you do not totally forgive, you will be just as imprisoned as the individual is made to feel who offended or wronged you. You are only complicating the situation for yourself.
How do I know if I have totally forgiven?
I have released the individual from penalty. The word penalized means to ‘impose a handicap on.’ When you and I totally forgive we choose to free this individual from living their life impaired. We do not take advantage of them at every opportunity possible because they wronged us.
I have resigned the individual from punishment. This means I have intentionally chosen not to impose restrictions or pursue recourse because of their wrong. I treat them just as if they had never done anything wrong.
I have restrained from the issue being presented. Do you say words like: “you have always;” or “you never;” or “you did this before;” or “I remember when?” Do you have the tendency to bring back to the individuals memory what they want so badly to forget? Are you stuck on what they did, when they did it, and who they did it with? Is this your ‘hold’ card?’
I have removed the individual from that place. This simply means that I have given this individual and myself the freedom to move on from that place. Why are you choosing to stay in that place of emotional and mental pain?
The reality is this: the Christian faith lives and is founded upon the principle of forgiveness. If you have done one of the four or all – you have not totally forgiven the individual. Here is the point I want you to get: You cannot walk in unforgiveness and not experience the same pains and problems you are trying to reap on the offender.
My advice? Get Up! Get Out! Get Over It! Give GRACE!!
If your future is much brighter than your past, then why choose to stay in the past? You cannot go forward quickly always looking in the rear-view mirror.