Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32
What’s one of the hardest words in the Bible to hear? Forgiveness.
It’s painful for most people because it involves releasing someone who has hurt them. However, when someone holds onto their hurts, it is a burden that becomes very heavy. But when people learn to forgive themselves and others, it lightens their load.
Jesus came to provide a way to receive forgiveness for sins. One can be free from the weight of their regrets and mistakes, and yet, they can still struggle with the idea of extending that same release to others. They either want justice or revenge. And the offender should understand the pain they caused those they’ve hurt.
The word forgive is thrown around as if it is cheap and easy. What Jesus did on the cross to allow forgiveness to happen was not easy. He suffered greatly. But He made the hard choice and wants every person to do the same. Notice, forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. If someone waits until they feel like forgiving, it will never happen—and they will be carrying the burden forever.
Many people erroneously believe that forgiveness is a one-time action that “lets perpetrators off the hook.” Forgiveness, though, is a process that starts with identifying the wound. If a person is not aware of what is hurting them, it is tough to seek healing for it.
Next, a person needs to confess anything that has become a sin concerning the memory of the experience. Bitterness, anger, revenge, and selfishness must be acknowledged when disclosing. Forgiveness is not for the offender—it’s for the victim. If a person is wounded but confesses their sin first, they are making space for the Holy Spirit to fill them and heal their hurt.
Finally, a follower of Christ has the Holy Spirit living inside them. He sings over those whom He has redeemed (see Zephaniah 3:17). And they are sealed with the Holy Spirit. They can ask the Holy Spirit to make them the person God designed them to be from the beginning. They are a treasure and bring glory, honor, and pleasure to God when they forgive others.
A lack of forgiveness hurts a lot of people. It removes the person who refused to forgive from relationships with others, themselves, and God. Choosing to forgive those who have wronged them allows God to be bigger than the hurt. He wants to bring each person healing and freedom. More than that, He wants them back in a relationship with Him. Learn to forgive through the help of counselor in the New Life Counselor Network.
Never forget that forgiveness removes burdens from one’s back, gives them over to God, and lighten their load.