Tag Archives: forgiving

Choosing Forgiveness

When you’ve been hurt by someone, you can either forgive them or you can hold a grudge. Holding a grudge makes you look at the chain reaction of what they did to you, and then blame them for how you ended up where you are. It creates “if / then” statements in your mind: “If they hadn’t done that to me, then I wouldn’t have been in this miserable place in life.” Anything bad that happens in your life gets blamed on them. Your mind becomes consumed with how bad things are, and you create a perpetual cycle of a downward spiral.

When you forgive someone for hurting you, you set your mind free. You no longer give that person power over you and the direction of your life. You are no longer consumed by the bitterness that creeps into every area of your life. You no longer dread waking up each day, and your perspective changes. You can look back at that moment and see how God used it to get you where you needed to be. You also quit despising the life you have, and begin to see it as a blessing.

If anyone ever had a reason to hold a grudge, it was Joseph. His brothers beat him, threw him in a cistern, and sold him as a slave. That event took him away from all he had known. His freedom and all he had were taken from him in an instant. He was accused and spent years in prison because of their betrayal. Bitterness could have linked it all together and made him hate his brothers. Instead, he chose forgiveness, and God blessed him for it.

Forgiveness is about remembering we aren’t perfect ourselves. We make mistakes and hurt others too. God wants us to give people room to make mistakes and then to forgive them. Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT). If you’ve held onto a grudge towards someone because they’ve hurt you, let it go and forgive them. Quit giving them control of your life and your mind. I’ve found that when we choose to forgive and give it to God, the things that have hurt us the most often become the things God can use the most effectively.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Breaking Free

If you’ve interacted with people in your life, you’ve been hurt by someone at some point. The people closest to us seem to hurt us the most. When we get hurt, the easiest thing to do is let that pain turn into hate and bitterness. We want to hurt them back worse than they hurt us. If we’re not careful, the pain inside of us can consume us. I read a story this week of a 73 year old who found a high school classmate and killed him because of how he hurt him over 50 years ago. He lived his whole life wanting revenge for the pain this person caused him.

In Genesis, Abraham’s son Isaac had twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau was very hungry one day and Jacob had prepared a meal. He asked for some of it, but Jacob made him pay for it with the birthright which meant he would inherit his father’s wealth. Later, when Isaac was about to die, he summoned his firstborn Esau to bless him. He sent him out to kill something wild and cook it first. Jacob found out, and beat him to it. Esau hated Jacob for it and wanted to kill him. He let the anger consume him and the only way to console himself was to plot revenge.

In Genesis 27:40, Isaac told Esau, “You shall live by your sword, And serve your brother; However it shall come to pass when you break loose [from your anger and hatred], That you will tear his yoke off your neck [and you will be free of him]” (AMP). If you’re still carrying the pain from someone hurting you, it’s time to break loose from it. Get their yoke off your neck. Forgiving them is the way to do that. Ask the Lord to help you. I know personally this is easier said than done. It’s a process that starts with you forgiving in your heart first. The pain will go away and a scar will remain, but you will be free.

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Forgiving Offenses

We live in the age of offense where everyone seems to be easily offended by everything. As imperfect people, we are going to offend people and people are going to offend us. In the workplace, in friendships and at church, when you interact with others, you’re given the chance to not see eye to eye with someone. We all have different points of view. We all have different thicknesses of skin. We all have the choice to make room for someone to be human or to hold them to a state of perfection. In this current age, we’re holding imperfect people to a perfect standard when we don’t see eye to eye, and then we crush them when their imperfections show.

In Colossians 3:12, Paul is speaking to the people of God and tells them to clothe themselves in kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness and patience. I like the imagery of clothing yourself with these things. He’s saying, wrap up your imperfections and thin skin with these attributes. These are things that don’t come natural to all of us, but as believers we can adopt these attributes into our lives and learn to incorporate them into who we are. After he gives all of those attributes in one sentence, he makes a special note to add one more to the list. He says, “Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you” (GNT).

Forgiveness is the act of releasing someone from something they’ve done to you that has offended or hurt you. As Christians, we must learn how not to have a chip on our shoulder looking for offenses and to learn how to make room for the faults in others. When we get offended, we need to release it. Unforgiveness truly hurts ourselves more than the other person. It can create a root of bitterness within us and affect every area of our life. It causes us to look for payback and to try to hurt the other person in some way. Forgiveness releases us of that burden and keeps our hearts pure before God. When we quit looking to be offended and when we release those who have offended us, we become more Christ-like.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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10 Scriptures On Forgiving Others

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1. Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. (Proverbs 19:11 MSG)

2. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings. (Mark 11:26 AMP)

3. For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14 AMP)

4. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3:13 NLT)

5. Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. (Galatians 6:1-3 MSG)

6. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. (Mark 11:25 AMP)

7. If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship. (Proverbs 17:9 GNB)

8. “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4 MSG)

9. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. (Ephesians 4:32 GNB)

10. Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love. (2 Corinthians 2:8 MSG)

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A Big Mistake

I was reading Genesis 38 this morning. It’s tucked right in the middle of the story of Joseph. Honestly, it feels like it’s out of place when you read all the chapters around it. It’s not about Joseph at all. It’s about his brother Judah. The chapter tells us that Judah had three sons. He found a wife for his oldest son, but he died before being able to marry her. He then had his next son marry her as the custom was. He wanted them to produce an heir for his oldest son, but his second son was unwilling to do that. After he died, Judah told her to wait for his third son to grow up and that he would marry her.

Years later, she realized that Judah probably wasn’t going to fulfill his promise. When she heard he was coming to her city, she covered her face and sat at the city gate. Judah mistakenly thought she was a prostitute. He offered her payment and she accepted. She ends up getting pregnant and they threaten to kill her until she reveals who the father is. She named her son Perez which means a break out, a breach or a gap.

If you fast forward to Matthew chapter one, you know the one we always skip because it has a bunch of this person begat that person phrases in it, you’ll find Judah and Perez in the lineage of Jesus. Think about that for a second. A man sleeps with his son’s wife, she gets pregnant and God uses that as part of the family line to have His only begotten through. Judah made a mistake. An uncorrectable mistake. A mistake like that will haunt you forever, but God didn’t hold it against him forever.

In fact, if you look at the entire lineage of Jesus in Matthew one, you’ll see another glaring “mistake” in the line. You’ll notice that David and Solomon are in there. You’ll say that’s not a “mistake” and I agree. It’s the parenthetical statement in verse 6 that stands out. It says that the mother of Solomon was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah. If you don’t know, David was out on his roof one night and saw a woman bathing. He liked what he saw, called for her, found out she was married, slept with her anyway and she became pregnant.

He decided to quietly conceal the matter by having her husband murdered. After he was murdered, David married her. The baby died shortly after birth. She got pregnant again and gave birth to Solomon. Crazy huh? What’s more crazy is that God used a murderer and the son birthed from an affair in the line of Christ. The line to Jesus wasn’t filled with perfect people. It was filled with humans who made huge mistakes that they couldn’t recover from.

We all make mistakes in our lives. We all have things we’ve done that we wish we had never done. Some of those mistakes we’ll have to live with for the rest of our lives. The amazing thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t hold those mistakes over our head. In fact, He can use them to bring about great things in our lives and in our future. Even when you think it’s a mistake that is so bad, you’ll never recover from it, He can turn it around.

Think for a minute today about the mistakes you’ve made. If its big enough, I’m sure it haunts you day and night. Have you asked God to forgive it? Have you asked Him to heal or repair that breach or gap (Perez) in your life? If you’ve asked Him, He’s forgiven you and you should forgive yourself too. God wants to fill in that gap and use it for good in your life and future, but you have to allow Him to, by forgiving yourself and moving forward. You can’t change it, but He can change the outcome of it.

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