This week I had a conversation about forgiveness with someone. We were talking about why we should forgive people that have been really mean.
Just like anyone else, I’ve been hurt and treated unfairly or wrongly. In the flesh I wanted God to smite those people with a mighty smiting!! BUT the bible has some powerful things to say about our new nature. When we got saved, the bible says (2 Corinthians 5:17) we are new creations. Now clearly our bodies stayed the same when we got saved. Sadly I am no slimmer since I got saved!!
Our minds have yet to be transformed (See Romans 12:1&2)
The part that changed was our spirit. The very core of who we are has become just like Jesus, and we have a new nature on the inside of us. One that doesn’t look for smiting left, right and centre!
‘Forgive’ is actually a really interesting word. It comes from a word that means “to give completely without reservation”. When someone wrongs us, we really want to punish them, to withhold all good from them, but when it comes to our own wrongs, the bible shows us that our sins are forgiven – completely without reservation.
It has also been used historically as an accounting term. It means to remit a debt. People surely wrong us and what they deserve is rebuke, punishment or retribution (as far as we can see)! BUT God’s kind of accounting isn’t like that at all! God says if you understand that I have written off your debt to me completely and without reservation, then you can write off the debts of others.
Many people find this hard, because they think forgiveness means letting a person ‘get away’ with something. But the truth is, forgiveness is a blessing, to YOU! Instead of carrying the weight of another person’s debt, you let it go and you are free from the pain and destruction unforgiveness brings in your OWN life.
Forgiveness is demonstrated by those who really understand God’s love. When we see how much he forgave us, we love him so much in response and gratitude. From that perspective, forgiveness becomes much easier. Firstly, because we come in gratitude, we can see that what a person owes us, is far less that we owed God. Secondly, faith works by love! What we can’t do in our own strength, faith empowers us to do and finally we can forgive because when we understand God’s love for us, we understand that what he asks of us isn’t bad for us; it’s always the best way.
People tell me “You don’t understand what they did to me! I can’t forgive them!” If you were just a human being, living life on your own, I could agree, but the truth is we’re not! We’re one third Holy Spirit! When you are empowered by the Spirit of God, you can do ALL things, through Christ who strengthens you!! That includes letting go of the accounts you’ve kept hold over others.
The best plan is to do things God’s way!! Let go of the debts others owe you, and trust God will take care of it all!
This wasn’t what I was planning to write about today, but as I sat down to write, I believe this is what God wanted me to share. If you’re struggling with unforgiveness, I ask you to remember all that God has forgiven you for, and his wonderful, extravagant goodness. As you think on his goodness, I believe it will bring repentance, and will open your heart to allow God to empower you to forgive.
Have a great weekend.