Forgive: “as we also forgive our debtors.”
Disclaimer: forgiveness can be complex. This is a single blog post about the importance of and basic principle of forgiveness. This is not a comprehensive discussion. Ok. Proceed.
"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
It’s pretty clear that it's not just a nice suggestion that we forgive. It's a requirement. Jesus is the one who said (see above), “If you do no forgive others their trespasses, neither with your Father forgive yours.” This seems harsh to us because 1) our current ideological culture doesn't do condemnation of any kind, and 2) it IS harsh, but for good reason.
Reason: Jesus took the fall for ALL THE SINS, FOR ALL TIME. He covered every single sin of humanity EVER for God to forgive us all forever. Energetically speaking, the darkness of resentment (the product of unforgiveness) and the light of love cannot exist in the same space. In order to be forgiven (filled with his light/love) we MUST forgive to make space for it.
Why do we confess regularly? Because even though we've been taken into God's family humans aren't capable of being perfect and continually miss the mark. The purpose of regularly asking for forgiveness is two fold. It teaches us dependency on God's goodness. It prevents darkness from building up inside us like a Tetris level that’s too hard, which prevents us from receiving his blessings because then there's no room for light.
Action: So all I have to do is forgive. THAT'S ALL. HA. Talking about forgiving is much easier than actually forgiving. There is SO MUCH material about how to forgive and what it is and all that. I'm going to just over-simplify this: Forgiveness is a decision and not a feeling. Again, the power of words! Saying "I forgive" even when you don't feel it is the action (sacrifice!) necessary from us. And as times goes by because you're saying it it will become your truth. No need to be flowery. Just the simple statement is what's important.
“I forgive (enter their name)."
"I forgive (enter event/action)."
"I forgive myself.” (!!)
Make this a daily meditation. As many names as you need to insert, say them out loud. Just say it. The change will start. You’ll see. I promise that if you ask with a genuine heart to be made willing to forgive that the change will come. And DON'T SKIP forgiving yourself!
Really Important Note: the next time you feel like you haven't forgiven that person or event and you feel disappointed with yourself because you thought you forgave this already remember,
“I have already forgiven (insert here). I will not listen to this lie.” And keep going. Because it IS a lie that the bad guy LOVES to use against us. Put up that shield of faith and squash that lie.
Remembering the old hurt DOES NOT un-do your decision to forgive. It's the fixating on or obsessing over a wound that keeps it alive and builds resentment. Keep on with your forgiveness meditation. Some wounds are deep and take years to heal and also years to forgive. Just keep on.
God sees your keeping-on and your desire to forgive. That's what matters.
Another really important note: if you've had serious trauma please seek counseling because there's more to that and you need and deserve to heal. The path of healing and forgiveness in the midst of that kind of hurt needs more than an over-simplified blog post. I have a few referrals if you need them.
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