The Choice to Forgive

God gave every person free will. While each person was and is created in His image; this does not mean that a person has to stay within that realm. The freedom of choice to choose any lifestyle is up to each person; however, let it be known that God’s Word also provides us with the rewards and consequences of all of the choices made at any given time. As a result; Deuteronomy makes it very clear in verse 30: 15: “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” (NLT)   The beginning statement of the verse too is a command for all people reading the Word that they must pay attention. The following sentence explains that there is a choice and in choosing one comes what comes with it and the other choice what too comes with it. One must think wisely about the choices made as every choice comes with an outcome. People have the power to choose because God is a just God. God gave man dominion over the earth and of themselves.  If God did not provide free will; then He would not be a just God and there would have been no need for His Son to die on the cross to save anyone from their sins. God could then be considered a liar which is contrary to who He is. In her book, ‘Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook’ June Hunt writes that ‘You must face the truth of what actually happened and not hinder true healing with rationalization and false thinking.’ (P 178 p4) Getting to a place of forgiveness is a choice and moving from the false ideas that one has about the given situation and person to the reality without rationalization is key.  While it is key it too can prove to be challenging because every person has a level of bias although overcoming that bias is possible. Once a person makes the choice; through forgiveness he or she will probably recognize that a correction of perception took place.

Before the act of forgiveness a person may believe it occurred this way or that; although after the fact the entire situation and perception is different. In my life, I was abandoned by my biological mother and left to be put in a foster home. I lived there for two years until I was adopted into an abusive adoptive home. I lived in that home for nine years until my adoptive parents placed me in a homeless shelter. I met my biological mother almost 30 years later and while I still hated her at that time it was after I forgave her that I learned the truth. Everything changed in that moment and forevermore.

What I learned was that the reason I never saw her again during our court appointed visits was because the case worker gave her an ultimatum that if she would have to sell me to him for $10,000.00 or never see me again. When she said no he simply changed the appointment time and we never saw each other again. I believed she abandoned me all over again and that I truly was a throwaway. No answers were given. Not one answer; that was until we were reunited decades later. The truth revealed changed everything. No longer did I view her as this fat, sloppy, lazy incapable person who I loathed but to someone who lost a child.

My heart was filled with compassion toward her and that healing in Christ took place. My life and hers was forever changed. It was a choice to forgive and another choice to let go of the deep seeded pain that caused so much turmoil in my life. Through this one example; it is my prayer for you that the lesson of forgiveness is not one to be taken lightly as disobedience is not honored in God’s Kingdom. Not only this; people perish when we choose the route of disobedience; or really the route of death.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 it reads that, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (NIV) To begin with further examination; when a person chooses life his or her children may live. If this isn’t a reason to choose life and forgiveness then who knows what a good reason is! We must grasp that forgiveness and unforgiveness are passed down from generation to generation. Your children will live what you give them to.  Through the choice of life; future generations have not only hope but a chance at the life God intends for them too. They will not have to overcome the turmoil you leave them; should you be obedient and leave them with something like forgiveness and love.  As one example it is evident in today’s society that there is a need for forgiveness so to stop the racial divide that is lingering and growing in the United States and across the world. Television and the media have mastered the art of stirring emotions of the people to get the impact desired. According to the Charles Johnston, MD., “Soap operas and afternoon talk shows prosper through their ability to whip up polarized emotions. And the evening news, sold as television’s time for serious analysis, has increasingly become an ever more predictable litany of each day’s killings and disasters. Serious information is secondary at best.”  http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/addicted-violence-has-american-dream-become-nightmare  When we examine not just the fact of what the outcome is; but rather the intent it is one that unless you are aware of it you will fall victim. When we as individuals, Christians, a nation grasp what the larger picture is then and only then will we be on the offense to stop the hatred and living in unforgiveness. Until we turn off the television and open our Bibles will we be able to see that love can and will reign. The acts of the wicked are all around us but so long as we engage in falling into the trap of allowing our emotions to get involved;  we will only exacerbate the problem; regardless of whether or not we claim we go to Church on Sunday.

The choice to live in forgiveness is primarily the choice to be obedient to God’s Word; and also a choice to let go of the past. We must realize that in order to continue forward living in peace with ourselves, in our relationships with Jesus and with others that it must be done. The acts of the forefathers have come and gone and the choice to perpetuate the hatred toward future generations through unforgiveness is only stealing our lives and the lives of our future generations.

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