Power to Forgive

Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet, we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

It has been said that, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” I believe that is true. Forgiveness is something that only God can do through us. Oh sure, perhaps we can find it within ourselves to forgive the slight offenses against us, but we cannot forgive on the level that God does unless His grace accomplishes it in us.

The worst offense I have ever had inflicted upon me happened a few years ago. It involved betrayal by friends, being lied upon, my family being treated unjustly and a few other assorted unkind acts thrown in. I realize that I am certainly not the only one to have endured this, and it is certainly not as bad as circumstances that perhaps many of you have had to deal with. I only share this because I want to testify to the healing power of God’s grace that enables us to forgive. He helped me, He can help you.

It is not important that you know the details of the situation. I came out feeling humiliated and broken with a strong sense of loss and failure. I will admit that even though I knew I shouldn’t, I carried anger and resentment toward those who hurt me. I would try to deal with it, but I found the “old feelings” would still resurrect themselves given the slightest opportunity. Not long after, one of the parties involved was killed in a tragic accident. I am ashamed to say that a small part of me felt vindicated that this had happened. (This shows what unchecked bitterness can produce in us.)

I am learning that forgiveness is not always a “magic wand” that we can wave and make the hurt go away. I am learning that it is a healing process that God provides for us by His grace. Here is what I mean.

I had often read and even memorized the text I quoted above. I had even preached it on more than one occasion.

I knew that this healing was much more than mere physical healing, even though God is certainly capable of that too. I also knew that the sins we commit can leave their mark on us, but God’s grace is capable of healing that.

I had an epiphany one night, riding down the road and contemplating this scripture. It suddenly occurred to me to “connect the dots”. Jesus felt the pain of transgressions inflicted by others. Not only did He bear the pain of sins I have committed, He also has borne the pain of sins inflicted on me by others. I don’t have to carry that pain any more. When I claimed this truth, and surrendered this pain to Him, I felt a release like I had never experienced in my life. I could literally feel the hurt and bitterness leaving me. That night, I found the grace to forgive those who had hurt me as well as to admit my own wrongful contribution to the situation.

This is why God tells us to forgive others as He has forgiven us, for Christ’s sake. God is under no obligation to forgive us, but because Jesus bore the pain of our sins, God is willing to forgive. If He can forgive us for that reason, can we not turn loose of our pain and pride and forgive others for the sake of Christ?

My prayer for you that are carrying bitterness toward others in your heart is that during this Easter season, as you reflect on the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior, that God will give you the strength to turn loose of the pain and resentment. I pray that you will find the spiritual healing in Jesus that can lead you to forgive those who have sinned against you.

Advertisements

20 responses to “Power to Forgive

  1. Thanks for the prayer, Gordon!

    and for sharing this post!

  2. Thank you so much for these words.

  3. Very nice post, Gordon.

  4. This is an awesome post and I feel like The message is for me but I am going through an enourmously hard time with bitterness and forgiveness of inhumane offenses committed to me that without telling my story in detail no one could understand. This will be the hardest Easter for me ever. Pray that God seesme through it and continues to love me even though I can’t find it in me to forget the worngs done in my past. I am truly heartbroken and scared and bitter and I can’t shake it

  5. Anonymous, thank you for your honesty. That is the first step towards finding the healing of which I spoke. I will pray that God’s grace will be with you during this time.

    I would ask you to consider this question, (you don’t have to answer it here if you don’t want to) is there any part of your life where you are struggling with accepting God’s forgiveness for something you have done? I ask this because sometimes when we are not willing to accept God’s forgiveness, it can inhibit us from giving forgiveness to others.

    Again, my prayers are with you and thank you for your comment.

  6. BTW, you can never do anything that will cause God to stop loving.

  7. awesome post, gordon. your writings are always so enlightening and from the heart. and a great challange to atttempt to lay down our bitterness of unforgiveness for the sake of the Easter season.

    right now, my fight is with myself…i’m having to learn a hard life lesson of failing to tell others how much they mean to me and how special they are. and once they leave this earthly life, it’s too late.

    so hug your wife, hug your kids, tell those close to you just exactly how special they are to you.

    thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers during this time of our lives.

    may you be blessed!

  8. Lisa, it is always good to see you. I have been praying that God’s sufficient grace will sustain you and your family through this series of tragedies you have encountered.

  9. What a beautiful post! I also pray for any bitterness to be dissipated during this joyous resurrection celebration!

  10. good post gordon,
    forgiveness is not about instant healing or making the hurt go away then and there but about letting the process begin. Forgiveness in my experience is never “I forgive you” (Poof) hurt gone. the words “I forgive you” really are saying (for christians) “I’m going to let Jesus deal with this because I cant. I’m going to lay aside my pain and no longer react to it when dealing with you. I’m going to show you the love of Christ while He heals my pain.”

    MDM

  11. Thanks, Bonnie.

    MDM–that is a great synopsis of what I have been trying to say. It is God loving others through us. Thanks for your comment.

  12. I need to learn the lessons of bitterness and forgivness being taught here and in the other post.

    Yep

  13. missmellifluous

    Anon,
    May I say that if you have been abused or hurt by others in your past, God is angry about that too. When we hurt each other it makes God terribly sad because often it damages the image of God in each other and it makes us think he does not care. He does care. I used to doubt this but when I look at Jesus on the cross Irealise that God hated being seperated from us so much that he was willing to be seperated from his son to draw us close. It’s incredible. Jesus was willing to go through so much to draw us near.

    Jesus knew the pain, anguish and torment of betrayal much more than we have ever experienced it. You may have been hurt and betrayed too without it being your fault. If you feel the inexpressible pain of this, please know that please know that it is ok to feel sad and angry and hurt. It’s normal. It reflects God’s heart and His abhorrence for the way we hurt each other. You are not alone. Know that when you see the cross this Easter.

    I am taking a stab in the dark at guessing what you have been through. Sorry if I have gotten it all wrong. But please know that I am praying and while you don’t have to tell us what is happening, please find someone you respect and trust to talk to.

    May I also say, foriveness does not mean going back into a situation that may put you at risk. You can forgive someone without having to trust them or befriend them again. Don’t punish yourself, this can take a long time. Pray, and daw close to God. You are not alone!

    God Bless you this Easter, Anon!

  14. anonymous My prayers go out to you ! May GOD HELP YOU TO WORK OUT YOUR DIFFERENCES AND MAY you turn to him for PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING ? AS FOR HOPING THAT GOD STILL LOVES YOU [ GODS LOVE IS UNCONDIONALL ]! YOU HAVE TO SEEK GODS FORGIVENESS AND HIS GRACE BECAUSE IN HIS WORD HE SAYS HE IS PATIENTLY WAITING AND HE WILL GIVE YOU PEACE IN YOUR LIFE ! WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK OF HIS AMAZING GRACE ? MY PRAYER FOR YOU ON THIS EASTER SUNDAY IS THAT YOU ATTEND SERVICES AND BE THERE WITH LOVE IN YOUR HEART , A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND PRAISE OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AND GIVE THANKS FOR HIS WONDERFULL GRACE ? MAY GOD BLESS YOU ? RON

  15. Thanks for all your responses to my comment.
    Gordon- It’s a catch 22?. I can’t forgive the abuser and then I cant accept that God can forgive me when I ask Him to forgive me for not forgiving others who abused me.
    Did that make sense?

    Rbj and Missmell…I tahnk you as well for commenting on my comment.
    I agree I can forgive and then break ties because contact with the abuser is just too unhealthy for me.

  16. Gordon,
    I certainly am not going to say that I have mastered the gift of forgiveness. Only our Lord has done that.
    There is something I noticed a few years ago. When you look in someone’s eyes you will see yourself. The same is true of them looking into yours. You are a reflection in their eyes and they in yours.
    So, the next time I get angry or bitter with someone I just need to be reminded that they are the center of my eye when I view them, and remember the greatest forgiveness given to man by Jesus on the cross. It was for that person in the center of the eye.
    I hope that makes sense.

  17. Anonymous–I understand what you are saying. Remember that in forgiving, you are not condoning the wrongs that have been done to you, you are simply being willing to turn loose of the pain and anger for the sake of Christ. I will probably post some more on this topic next week. Thanks for coming by, and I hope you will continue to do so. My prayers are with you.

    TA–it certainly does make sense and that is a powerful thought. It surely helps us to see things through a perspective of grace.

  18. Rajie Nathanz

    Dear there,
    I have been terrible drinking at my friend;s place and went to a toilet and saw her handbag and took her credit card and I used her credit card and it already spent about Rs 40,150. I have been praying to God to forgive me many times. I did believe that there are evil spirit at my backside. I am too worried to pay her back that amount.
    I feel very upset and ashamed about this above matter. Please tell me to pray to God.
    I look forward to your reply as soon as possible.
    I would be highly grateful, if you can help me.
    Thanking you
    Kind Regards
    Rajie Nathanz

  19. Rajie, God is willing to forgive us for the sins we commit if we are willing to confess them to Him.

    The most important thing, however, is placing our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior. Have you done this?

    I will be glad to explain this to you if you do not understand what I am talking about.

    Blessings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s