Being Set Free Through Forgiveness
One major cause and symptom of spiritually discouragement in our inner lives is when we begin to allow unforgiveness and bitterness to become deeply rooted in our hearts.
And nothing will eat away at our hearts more than unforgiveness and bitterness.
When we are spiritually healthy we can forgive others, but when we are spiritually weak we refuse to extend forgiveness to others. We become enslaved in our own world of anger.
When we are hurt by someone we love and trust, we become angry and confused. But if we dwell on these hurtful events and situations, our grudges become filled with resentment, vengeance, and even violence.
If we live a life of unforgiveness, we will find ourselves swallowed up by your own sense of injustice. If we are unforgiving, we will spread our anger and bitterness into every one of our relationships, often without knowing it.
Our lives become so wrapped up in the wrongs done to us that we will live a life full of unhappiness and we can lose our enriching connectedness with others, even with our own families.
The act or words that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on the positive parts of our lives.
Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting us, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. But if we can honestly forgive people, we will be set free and God’s peace will begin to fill our hearts and help us go on with life with a new heart of joy and freedom.
Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. All of us have been unjustly hurt by the actions or words of other people. But these wounds if not dealt with through forgiveness will destroy our lives.
By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, and thankfulness. When we let go of our grudges and bitterness, we find God’s new way of compassion, kindness and peace.
We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive.
When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us.
Forgiveness is not easy for us. It’s not a one-time choice and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart.
The biblical solution to overcoming spiritual discouragement and renewing spiritual strength in our inner lives requires us to uproot the strongholds of unforgiveness and bitterness from our hearts.
1 – Unforgiveness is a deep-seated anger and resentment toward those who have hurt us unjustly that has become a major internal stronghold that negatively effects every area of your life.
2 – Forgiveness is the intentional decision and a voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a transformation in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as anger, resentment and revenge, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
3 – A major barrier to forgiveness is the chose of people to protect themselves (self-protection), instead of turning their lives over to God’s protection.
4 – Forgiveness is often a hard long, slow process, but as Christians we develop a deep attitude of forgiveness as a life-style, not simply as a one-time event (Matthew 18:21-22)
Peter came and asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive a fellow believer who sins against me? Do I have to forgive him up to seven times?” Jesus answered Peter, “I tell you the truth, you must not just forgive a fellow believer seven times but 70 times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
5 – When we fully grasp how much God has forgiven us, we are much more able to forgive others
Be understanding with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a complaint against someone. Forgive others as the Lord has forgiven us! (Colossians 3:13)
6 – When we forgive others, the liberating power of God’s forgiveness is released through our inner lives (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37)
“For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. (15) But If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. — C.S. Lewis
When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself. — Lewis Swedes
To err is human, to forgive, divine. — Alexander Pope
The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness. — William Blake
If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive. — Mother Teresa
You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. — Max Lucado
To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God. — Henri Nouwen
Live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer