Have you ever thought about what something means to you? What does your spouse mean to you? How about your children? Your education? Your career? Your i-life perhaps? In the midst of all of these things we may see much; but what does it mean to forgive? In reflection of forgiveness when I looked at my life I started pondering what it has meant to forgive. As such; there is much.
Now I have a full teaching on what is forgiveness (https://julieblair.com/product/what-is-forgiveness-julie-blair/) but what it means to forgive is different. Forgiveness in Hebrew is two words: Nasa and Salah which together mean a pardon of iniquity.
What it means to forgive is that first you are ready for change. Nothing will change toward the direction you want if you are not ready for it. No Olympic athlete gets to the Olympics without first being prepared. When you are ready to forgive you and your life will drastically changed. I can attest to this as I have an entire ministry based upon forgiveness; and it wasn’t my plan before I forgave I can tell you that!
To forgive means that you are ready to let go of the pain and hurt. This can be quite challenging although beyond therapeutic I may add. To be honest I had no idea the depths of my soul that had been overtaken by unforgiveness. I didn’t know the amount of bitterness, sadness; and pure helplessness that owned me. I wasn’t until I purged the pain that I was able to see and be released in the name of Jesus.
To forgive means that you are ready to repent and be obedient to God’s Word. This too I had no clue about! Sad really since I sat in church every Sunday but yet was a miserable mess. I’ve since learned that where I go in my relationship with God is up to me. There is no such thing as forgiveness without repentance as Acts 3:19 is very clear: ‘Repent and seek forgiveness, so that times of refreshing may come.’ (NIV) Forgiveness too is a command so therefore by default; not being forgiving is not being obedient. To forgive means that you are mentally and spiritually; and emotionally prepared to do what God’s Word commands. Remember that it is obedience that is better than sacrifice. Yeah; I didn’t know that one either.
To forgive means that you are ready to grow in Christ. See; there was so much about unforgiveness and forgiveness I didn’t know. I didn’t get the fact that forgiveness wasn’t about anyone but me and the Lord. I thought it was just go tell someone ‘I forgive you’ and that was it. Well; I did that for decades and then learned how much of a lie that was! It also didn’t work because I still harbored unforgiveness which kept me disobedient. Go figure. I get now that when I forgive; it is my surrendering of myself to the Lord in obedience and guess what? He works on my behalf! He healed me! He restored me! It was Him who justified and righted all the wrongs done to me. He avenged me. I didn’t have to go and fight my battles. As a result; my relationship with Christ changed. It grew and I grew. I didn’t know going into it though that it would be so much. I had no idea.
And finally; to forgive means that you are no longer a victim. There may be many terrible things that have occurred in your life; but you aren’t the victim once you forgive. I’ve been through it all: abandoned at age 3, foster home for 2 years, abusive adoptive parents, homeless shelter- all by age 15! I know divorce, infidelity, molestation and more. And I know that through forgiveness I am healed and not a victim. You aren’t either. When you forgive all of it is removed. You are not who you were to allow what once was to be what is.
Forgiveness in Christ is the pathway to your future. Apart from Him you can do nothing so it reads in John 15:5. When you too recognize that forgiveness will heal your hurt, right your wrongs; and bring beauty for ashes you will never be the same. Forgiveness may mean something more or different to you; but let it mean that you are progressing. Let it mean that you are being changed in magnificent ways. Let it mean that your light is shining like never before!
Share with me how it’s changed you. I would like to know. Why? Because I care. Because He cares.
For more about forgiveness watch Living in Forgiveness on Tuesdays at 9:30 on the UANetwork. Starting in September it will be Monday-Friday at 9:30pm. To watch previous episodes follow here: http://uanetwork.tv/uanon-demand/living-forgiveness-julie-blair/
Christmas is soon approaching. It tends to do that every year; it’s a creeper some will say. Family forgiveness during the holidays is challenging for most people. It’s not really the most wonderful time of the year. Just ask someone on the subway and see what reply you get. And so it goes how does one make the holidays brighter? Forgive. Simply forgive.
You see; your family is your family. If you are expecting them to change it’s as ridiculous as thinking that the Dallas Cowboys will win the Superbowl this year. Will it happen? Perhaps. Miracles do happen right? But in all seriousness; your family is your family and it’s your choice to love them where they are and decide if you are going to forgive; or live unforgiving.
It can be hard to accept your family where they are. I get it. I hated my biological mother before I met her; and even moreso ‘after’ I met her. Her choices damaged me and I lived like it. Once I understood forgiveness and how to love people where they are my life changed. I started to see that people in my love me right where I am so who am I to not do the same. Jesus loves me right where I am; in spite of all my downfalls. And so it goes with family we all have a choice. What’s it going to be?
I challenge you on this day to get out of your own self and look at what you have. Sure you may think your family is dysfunctional and guess what? It is! But so what? It is your family of dysfunction. It is ‘your’ family. Every family has a level of dysfunction some just hide it better than others is all. The great news is that you have a family. Don’t take that for granted. Ever.
Your family needs you. You need them. You all have something to contribute to the betterment of one another for a much larger purpose. See this. Know this. Accept this. Receive this. Live this. Live larger in forgiveness. Live larger with your family. Live larger this holiday season. Live and forgive.