Forgiveness is not a game. Many toss it around like bocce ball on a Sunday afternoon. It is seen as something to do just to placate others in an attempt to have them believe that you are holy; oh so holy. It’s like those who want you to believe because they go to church that they are better than you. Yet those who know forgiveness will know that the life changes that come through forgiveness either will or will not be evident. When you forgive there is evidence of it; there is fruit. This would make sense as obedience to God’s Word does that-produces fruit.
How you change when you forgive is something that 1) most don’t know, 2) haven’t experienced, 3) is not really talked about. This makes sense because it’s hard to talk about and share an experience that never has been. And so this is why it is important to share how people change when they forgive; and forgive to God’s Word and not mans idea as they are two entirely separate things.
You see; forgiveness first and foremost is about obedience to God’s Word. One may be of another religion and forgive to the words although while good and appearing noble is not the best nor complete. Anything without God let’s just be real- is death and terrible. God’s Word is clear that ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5. So in other words- if you do not have Jesus you are not in the realm of 1) grasping forgiveness to the full, 2) being forgiven, 3) forgiving, 4) bearing fruit. It’s all clear. Whether you like or not or disagree does not change anything. God’s Word is true yesterday, today and forever. And thus; as you forgive in accordance with God’s Word you will change because your obedience to it bears fruit.
When you forgive you are removing your self-focused, narcissistic tendencies and strongholds behind you. You are no longer focusing on the outward appearances and actions of others or even of yourself. No you have graduated from that. You see that the selfie-stick too can be sold in the next garage sale- or given to the neighbor. When you forgive you will see beyond where you were to that the Lord Almighty is who redeems and restores. You; through forgiveness, will recognize that you are not your own savior. This is why this requires explanation. Someone who believes he or she is his or her own god typically is challenged to recognize 1) the need for a savior, 2) that he or she is not the almighty thought to be. Forgiveness opens the eyes to the reality of what once was to what is and to what can be. If only we grasped that much sooner and didn’t spend decades living in unforgiveness. Or perhaps that was just me.
When you forgive you recognize that there never was a need to focus on such things that were meaningless It is not to state that there was no reason or time to not grieve or experience righteous anger; but let it be clear that bitterness is poison that rots the bones. Anger, resentment and separation from God are all ploys o the enemy are are traps. King Solomon states it clear in Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 Vanity of vanities, say the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?’ (NIV) One needs to reflect for a moment about exactly how much vanity comes with being unforgiving? Isn’t really the focus of the unforgiver on self? And isn’t that focus meaningless when Jesus is the One who paid the price for our forgiveness? The focus of the unforgiver certainly is not on that of Jesus which therein lies the problem! And what comes with the wrongly placed focus? Vanity and toiling of course. It’s a downward spiral to the grave. It is when you recognize that allow your mind to get involved with anything destructive will destroy; your life will change.
Your life changes when you forgive. You are not the same as you were the moment before. Your ideas, thoughts, mannerisms, responses and interactions with people change. Your relationship with Christ changes. You change. Your life as a whole changes. The meaning and purpose of your life changes. Nothing is as it was nor will be as it is and it cannot be what it is at this very moment. This ministry would not be in existence because the very foundation of it required forgiveness. You, when you forgive, are a new creation in Christ simply be making the choice to be obedient. It is not about lip service for self glorification. People see through that. And that; is easy. Forgiveness is not; until you master it.
Bottom line is this: if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to stop playing church and appeasing people. It is time to stop looking in the distorted mirror and seek the Truth. The truth is that there is a full life waiting for you. There is everything you could ever dream of and when you forgive; your life will change. You will move toward who you were created to be to do what you were created to do and for His glory. And that beloved; is how you change when you forgive.