There are times in life when you probably have been let down; and maybe even by God. It’s just life. Through this though you probably know you need to forgive those that hurt you and you may have had some expectations that come with forgiving. What most don’t realize though is what forgiveness is not. While there are many more than five things forgiveness is not; today we examine five. When you understand what it is not; it will make what bring more of what it is into your life.
- Forgiveness is not about other people. Many people believe that in order for them to forgive someone else must apologize when actually that is not true. See; the Bible is clear in Matthew 6:15 ‘But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ Forgiveness is about you and the Lord and not anyone else. If you really reflect on any situation that caused you pain you probably can see that it wasn’t as intentional as you may have first thought.
- Forgiveness is not about waiting on others to apologize. Chances are they never will. You are only setting yourself up for more heartache expecting others to apologize for something; especially if they 1) don’t know they did it, 2) don’t believe they are wrong. It’s better to just move on with your life and not allow yourself to have expectations that will only cause more heartache and turmoil in the future.
- Forgiveness is not letting someone off the hook. Many people believe that if they forgive then it means that the situation is absolved and that the perpetrator got off easy. Not true! See; forgiveness is ensuring your obedience to God’s Word. Period. While someone else may repent or apologize for what he/she did does not mean there are not consequences. Someone in a marriage may have an affair and while it may be forgiven doesn’t mean the consequences are still not evident. When you go to the God about a situation needing forgiveness; remember that He will work it out on your behalf. The ego you choose is up to you: Edge God Out or Edify God Only. Your pick.
- Forgiveness is not lip service. This is the one that tripped me up for many years. I thought I forgave. I honestly did. I said the words with my own mouth; therefore I must have done it. Well; not so fast. You see; there are almost 40 symptoms of unforgiveness so to disregard the symptoms just because you say you forgive doesn’t ring true. It’s when you understand forgiveness in its entirety and what comes through the process of it that you will embark on a journey that is far beyond lip service. Don’t fall into the trap and so deceive yourself.
- Forgiveness is not meaning of forgetting. I’ve never understood how people can say ‘forgive and forget’ when it makes no sense! None whatsoever. If you forgive and forget- where is the testimony? I can attest that if I forgave and forgot there would be no forgiveness ministry! How could there be? It’s a fallacy so if you have fallen into that trap and beat yourself up for not forgetting; don’t worry about it. You weren’t supposed to. You are merely to just share how you have moved on and how much better your life is now that you have forgiven.
One Bonus for you:
6. Forgiveness is not easy. It is not for the faint who like to be victims and never grow in God. It is not for those who love the attention and blaming others. It is not for those who just love self adoration; no it is not. It is for those who wish to move on to the next stage of their lives, to grow in Christ and to live for Him. It is for those who are more about His Word and obedience than the hurts of others upon them.
Forgiveness is truly a lifestyle or at minimum should be of one who claims to be a follower of Christ. John 14:12 is clear in reading: ‘Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’ If one is not able to get passed the point of forgiveness; then it’s certainly clear there will be no doing greater things than He. And aren’t you more interested in what you can do than what has been done to you? Forgiveness is what will allow that; unforgiveness will not. Choose carefully.
Images belong to their various owners.