And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 KJV
Last week, I got into a conversation with a woman who bluntly challenged my view on forgiveness. In her words, we are not to forgive people who are not repentant. Forgiveness should only happen when we see changes and they come to apologise to us.
I try to explain that this mindset is contrary to what Jesus said but she insists nobody should be forced to forgive. And people can take as much time as is required and may even decide not to. That it is not a must. She went further to speak about a person she would not forgive until she receives an apology.
Of course, at this point, I change the conversation and pray in my heart that the Holy Spirit would minister to her.
Considering her words, there were valid points. For real, How do you forgive someone who took the life of your loved one? How can you forgive a person who sexually molested you? How do you forgive people who abandoned you at the point of need? How do you forgive a spouse who treated you like thrash or trusted friends who betrayed you? Is it even possible to forgive an offence when the offender clearly shows no remorse?
The answer is no. We cannot. It is flat-out impossible because It works against our human nature and the desire to get even. But this is where the Holy Spirit comes in. To enable us. Forgiveness is a grace granted unto us by the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus said, with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.
Some might say, but the hurt is so deep. Would it ever be possible to let go? I acknowledge this. They took much. Your innocence, your youth, your job, your spouse, your retirement. But why let them keep taking from you? Haven’t they stolen enough? Your refusal to forgive keeps them loitering, taking still.
Leave the judgement to God! He is a righteous Judge and would avenge all wrongdoing. I understand it is easier said than done but it is the only way we can have peace. To take the other route, the path of latching on leads down a rabbit hole of bitterness and resentment. It is too big a burden to bear.
Forgiveness cannot happen until we heal from what broke us and while It is true Healing takes time, dealing with our pain does not mean we hold a grudge over the offender. It is accepting the wrong that has been done to us and to understand that we live in an imperfect world and people would hurt us as much as we hurt others too.
Hence, for healing to take place, we must allow God to soothe our wounds and permit His love to fill our hearts and for His joy to be our source. Because God would never leave us comfortless even in the depth of our trauma. Fellowship with Him and He would uproot the seed of offence in our hearts.
I wish I could speak of the numerous times I have been hurt and my refusal to let it go, and how the Holy Spirit tore down my blocks of grievances and restored me.
Come to think of it, the world would be a much better place if we learn to forgive ourselves. To hold on to unforgiveness is to give room for anger and bitterness to fester. It is not fair to be asked to forgive unrepentant people, true, but in order to obey the will of the Father and be free, it is compulsory.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. If it was up to how we feel, we sure would insist on getting even. Rather, it is a choice. We decide in our heart to forgive and the Holy Spirit takes it up from there. Forgiveness is not a weakness. It is instead the greatest act of strength.
It is also important to note that forgiveness is not reconciliation. Reconciliation happens when there is an indication of remorse and willingness to turn a new leaf in the other person. Some people are toxic to your wellbeing and should not be given space in your life. You can forgive but keep the distance. Don’t allow people to keep taking advantage of you. We are not doormats or pushovers. Have boundaries. Speak up when it is crossed.
Forgiveness does not also mean you forget. It is unreasonable to ask anyone to forget. Those are real life experiences. An integral part of our story which cannot be erased. Instead, we ensure whenever the memory of the offence crosses our minds, it no longer stings or ruins our mood. It is breaking the power the offender has over us. It is refusing to permit it dictate how you feel or respond.
By letting go, we do ourselves a big favour. It is also proof we acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus who died for our sins when we didn’t deserve it. Forgiveness is not a one-time affair. It is a continuous process. We keep forgiving until complete healing happens.
I assure you, the pain will stop. You will get better. Decide today to forgive, surrender to the Holy Spirit and every other thing would fall in place. God loves you dearly beloved and He cares about your hurts. Let Him fix it.
I pray God gives anyone reading this who has difficulty letting go, the strength to move forward. Amen!
You are loved💛💙💚