“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NASB
In one of Beth Moore’s Instagram posts she says, “The brutal irony of un-forgiveness is, it keeps us bound to the very people we most want to be free of. They are roped to our backs and go everywhere we go. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a freedom. It’s coming into agreement with God to cut them loose and put them in His hands.”
I have to agree forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. It doesn’t depend on our feelings but rather it’s based on our obedience to God. God’s word encourages us to forgive. It is by God’s grace shown to us, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are even able to truly forgive someone. It’s a divine act. When we forgive, then God can work in our life to accomplish the purposes He has for us. We can have freedom. We are no longer imprisoned by holding onto our anger, resentment, or desire to get even. There are a lot of things that keep reminding me of the unacceptable ways my ex-husband treated me. I could continue to build up anger and resentment every time these thoughts cross my mind. It’s a battle, but when I am triggered to re-live the bad portions of my marriage, I have to simply tell myself God is handling it. He is the one in control. I no longer need to worry or concern myself with those issues. I try to release it to God and move on, because it’s a heavy burden to bear. And God doesn’t want us to carry it anyway.
This is what He speaks of in Matthew 11:28-30 NASB.
“Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Forgiving seems to get easier as time goes on, but I still have my moments of anger or disappointment. (The enemy constantly tries to get me back to an area of un-forgiveness.) He works to steal peace and joy by tempting us to return to the past hurts instead of welcoming our new hope and future. This is when I feel like I’m not receiving justice, and I want the whole truth revealed! Full exposure, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! (Yep. This is what one calls vengeance, sisters, and exactly what God tells us NOT to do.)
Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
I need to daily, sometimes hourly, (even minute by minute!) call on the Holy Spirit to help me. He gives me the strength to forgive, but forgiveness is still a choice. To please God and to be in obedience to him, we must choose to forgive and place our circumstances back in Jesus’ hands. There’s freedom in forgiveness. Is there someone you need to forgive? Choose it for yourself, today. Repeat after me…There’s freedom in forgiveness.