Watch or listen…
The greatest hindrance to your mountain being moved and your faith voided is unforgiveness.
To forgive or stand in unforgiveness is a choice. You may not realize that whatever the other person has done to you has united you both and created a bond. It can look like defiance, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, and harboring a grudge. Vengeance is the chain that has no beginning and no end wrapped around you both, uniting you like a wedding ring. Unforgiveness can hold you emotionally hostage until your story is so entwined that it isn’t your story anymore. Forgiveness is critical. The Bible mentions forgive 62 times and forgiveness 27 times. We may not be able to erase the past, but we do have a choice. We can choose love and forgive them. It’s hard to hold on to unforgiveness toward those we actively serve, love, and pray for.
Key Passage: Colossians 3:12-13 NLT
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
If your motivation is selfish or from outward pressure, you are trying to forgive for all the wrong reasons. It can look like forgiving quickly so you can keep being a good person, this causes us to feel better about ourselves. Forgiveness can also be imposed on us by surrounding friends and family to feel more comfortable around you and them. We often use forgiveness as a shortcut to healing, it gives us an easy out so we can check it off our list and “move past” it.
If you are tempted to use a shortcut, consider this quote, “forgiveness doesn’t make them right … it just makes you free”.
- It is the key that unlocks the cell where your offender is staying
- It is the removal of the yoke you have been in with your offender
- It is what destroys the cords of connection you have to them
Q: Think about a situation where you have been hurt or offended by someone. Did you take any of these shortcuts? If so, which one and what was the outcome?
How do I forgive someone?
- Ask God to place a sincere love and compassion in your heart for this person. It is important to see them as an actual person that God loves and realize that this person is more than a moment or event.
- You acknowledge what they did was wrong, not ok, and not acceptable. Accept that you are not the judge, jury, or executioner. Vengeance is not freedom.
- Be specific and willing to examine your wounds. Decide exactly what you need to release if it was done directly to you. Remember, you can’t forgive something that didn’t happen to you. Forgive the pain, anguish, and grief that was caused to you because of those moments.
- Release the person/s to God’s care. Declare it with an open heart and an open mouth, “Father they are in your hands now you do what You will.” Choose to release and let go.
- Pray for your offender.
Q: Close your eyes for a moment. Search your heart for someone that you may not have truly forgiven. As you look through the above list use the space below to write out where you are with forgiving that person. Where in the list are you getting stuck?
Write a forgiveness letter
When you write a forgiveness letter, you are making a conscious decision to let it go and you are putting the pain in the right perspective. You don’t need to send the letters to anyone, it is for you to help you through the forgiveness process. This letter writing is a two-step process.
The first part is to Father God. Pray for all that you would like to see Father God do in this person’s life.
- The Goodness of God drawing that person’s heart into intimacy with Him
- The Restoration of relationship with others in that person’s life
The second part is to the person declaring the promises of God over their life
- His mercies new every morning for this person
- The Goodness of God to follow them all the days of their life
- The complete restoration of their soul
- Praying for their good
Q: Who do you need to forgive? In the space below write the names or situations that you need to forgive. Circle at least one name that you will write a letter to.