It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying set it free
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is “you”
Those are the lyrics to the song: “Forgiveness” by Matthew West.
I stumbled upon this song one day and it really blew my mind because to be honest we all have one or two people in our life that has hurt us and every time you remember that; your heart is unsettled. I had a person like that too, and I struggled to forgive. And when I heard this song, it really spoke to my heart.
There are many definition of forgiveness of out there and I believe every person also has their own definitions. So in order to see it clearly, let’s look at what it is not:
- Forgiveness is not sweeping the wrong or offense under the rug
- Forgiveness is not remembering the wrong or offense done to one
- Forgiveness is not holding grudges
- Forgiveness is not seeking revenge or retaliation- “ an eye for an eye”
- Forgiveness is not wishing bad luck or similar pain to others
- Forgiveness is not bitterness
- Forgiveness is not prideful
- Forgiveness is not angry
- Forgiveness is not resentful
- Forgiveness is not slandering
- Forgiveness is not in just words
- Forgiveness does not depend the level or gravity of the wrong/offense
In other words, forgiveness is a lot of things but one thing that it is not is unsure. When you truly forgive, you know because it is from your heart.
Forgiveness has a standard. The standard of forgiveness is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the standard of forgiveness because according to Luc 23:34; “ Then Jesus said,’ Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’
Here we see that Jesus forgave even those who mocked and killed him. Every time I consider this, I really wonder about the love of God. By doing this, Jesus became the standard of forgiveness, showing that forgiveness is necessary irrespective of the wrong done to us or the offense, we have to forgive. We simply cannot afford to cherish anger, bitterness, offense, unforgiveness, and revenge in our hearts.
When you read the bible, study the meaning of forgiveness, you’ll realize when God forgives you; it means He looks at you as if you had never sinned, as if you had never done anything wrong. You are then blameless before Him and that friends, is the Gospel; the Good news!!
A man like you and I can say today:’ I forgive you’, but tomorrow when you meet the same person, they’d take back their forgiveness; but God forgives and forgets. Irrespective of what you may have done, when you receive God’s forgiveness, it is finished, you don’t have to feel guilt, shame, embarrassment anymore because God has forgiven and forgotten your sin!! Micah 7:18.
The question most people ask themselves is:’ how can I forgive someone who has hurt me deeply?” To answer this question, let us first consider why we have to forgive. Forgiveness is so important because:
- Forgiveness paves the way for harmonious relationship, even with an enemy.
- We need to forgive because we need to be forgiven. No one is perfect, whether victim or perpetrator, no one is perfect. So we need to forgive because we also need to be forgiven ourselves.
- There is no perfect relationship; whether with friends, family, co-workers, or any other relationship we can have. It is never and can never be perfect because nobody is perfect. Not even one.
- When we forgive someone who has sinned against us, hurt us, offended us; God will also forgive us. But if you refuse to forgive others, then God will not forgive your sin either.
- We need to forgive because being unwilling to forgive others, shows that we have not understood or benefitted from God’s forgiveness. I mean that, if you have been forgiven, that will create in you a forgiving heart towards others.
- An unforgiving attitude not only destroys our relationships, friendships, but also poisons our soul; in other words, the person most hurt by unforgiveness is YOU, not your enemy or offender.
- If we fail to receive forgiveness and to forgive those who offend, hurt, sin against us; we will find ourselves in a torture chamber. Matt 18: 21-35. Emotional torture, tortured with anger, malice, bitterness, and others.
- When we fail to receive forgiveness and to forgive others, we will find ourselves having to do everything, be everything, depending on our own strength and ability and since that is not possible, we will find ourselves under high stress, working hard and struggling but never achieve any progress because the result of unforgiveness is a life of self imposed isolation, mistrust, bitterness, resentment and total cagey.
Looking around the world today, you see that many people are struggling to forgive the wrong done to them. They argue that it is too painful, too hurtful that they cannot forgive. Some will even say to your face directly even after asking for forgiveness that they will NEVER forgive you. Yet Jesus forgave those who mocked and killed him!! As He hang on the cross, in all kinds of pain He chose to forgive and prayed for his persecutors. How did He do that? Its because of Love.
Unforgiveness, offense, bitterness, revenge, anger is rampant in the hearts of many today because of lack of real love.
The solution that we need is to love, really love. Matt 5:44: “but I say to you, love your enemy, bless those who curse you, do well to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you…”
This tells us that, instead of hurting those who hurt us, taking revenge on them, cursing them, wishing them a worse fate; we are to show love to them and pray for them. Why? Because when you love your enemy and pray for those who hate you or curse you; this releases you from the destructive emotions of anger, bitterness, revenge, self-pity, depression, hatred and others.
Your neighbor could be anyone. The loud, rude neighbor next door, a person who does not share the same faith with you, a person from another country, different language, different background or family, whether rich or poor, whatever be the color of their skin, able or disabled, mentally sound or not, short or tall, skinny or fat, clean or dirty; I mean it could be anyone. We are to love them all!!!
As people of God, when our neighbor hurts us, offend us, we should more concerned about their relationship with God and less about nursing our own grudges, self-pity and ill will.
As people God, when we fail to forgive our neighbor, we cannot even pray. You will only hear yourself, people around you will hear you but God will not hear you. Matt 5:23-24.
We read in 1peter 3:9, that we should not repay evil for evil or retaliate with hurt but instead when people hurt us, say hurtful things about us; we should pay them back with a blessing. That is the will of God and He will bless us for it.
Eph 4:31: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice”
Back to the question about how can we forgive those who have hurt us so deeply?
We need to first forgive ourselves; that is realize that we also need to be forgiven, that we are not perfect either and then forgive those who have hurt, offended us and sinned against us.
Say this prayer with me: Lord Jesus, forgive of my sins because of Your abundant mercy and compassion. I forgive myself, help me to forgive those who have hurt me; I release them all from my heart and I ask that You fill me with love enough. To love You and to love and forgive my neighbor as myself in your Holy name we pray, Amen!!
May God bless you and Keep you in this Love!!
The best Is Always Yet To Come!!
Song of today: Forgiveness by Matthew West: