This beautiful quote about forgiveness came in a text from a friend recently. "Jesus never said forgiveness wouldn't cost us something. He just said it wouldn't cost us as much as it cost Him." - Robin Whitford
I'm not an expert in the area of forgiveness by any means but I do know it's one of the key actions we have to live out daily in order to experience true peace in our lives and unity with our community (hey, that rhymes).
Years back I was walking through a season where I literally could not get past a particular offense. It made sense why I was hurt, but holding on to it was only suffocating me. I couldn't get past this gnawing feeling. Finally, per advice of a sweet mentor, she told me to pray that I would have the eyes of Jesus and begin to see people how He sees them. When we slip up, the loving voice of our Father says, "come boldly to the throne of grace so that I can give you mercy in your time of need"(Hebrews 4:16). He calls us back to Him rather than drive us away further. He already knows we will fail & is ready to embrace us when we turn back to Him. We have to know that regardless of what offense comes our way that Jesus has already paid the high price to forgive our offender. It's hard to grasp because it doesn't immediately take away the pain. Forgiveness is already available when Jesus gave up His life but for us to carry it out towards others we have to let go of our desires to want to handle the "offender". Instead of "sticking it to the offender" we recognize they are capable of failure just as we are and that our gracious God longs to forgive us ALL.
If it seems like it is impossible to forgive remember that through Christ ALL things are possible. These few points below are a great starting point for allowing our hearts to forgive.
1) Pray that you would see the person(s) through the eyes of Jesus.
In our own strength it's nearly impossible to rationalize with ourselves to make us love others through their weakness. Pray and ask for help seeing past others areas of weakness and ask for love to fill you and pour out on others around you.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
2) Remember that we are capable of sinning and are in need of forgiveness, love, and mercy... on a daily basis.
When we recognize that we have faults just as others around us have faults it can help loosen the grip of offense. Even if our heart is to love others we aren't capable of perfectly loving without sinning. Even if we try to perfectly love we will always fall short and be in need of grace and mercy. Just as easily as we are offended it's possible for us to offend others.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13
3) Aim for unity with your Community.
We are better together and strongest when we are able to walk in stride, hand in hand, in one accord. Offense and hurt are real but not as powerful as the one who came to tear down every wall of offense. My pastor recently said in her message on being "Genuine" that, "we are not competing against one another - our only true competition is our enemy." Let's not forget that our struggle isn't against one another... It's against the enemy that sneakily presents himself in the form of offense. Let's choose to fight for one another rather than against one another.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
4) Speak Up
There comes a time when our only way to break free is to release the offense. The Bible talks about us going straight to the person that has offended us and being open about the problem and offering forgiveness. Secrets keep us in bondage but the truth sets us free.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:15-16
Additional Scriptures on Forgiveness
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5 MSG
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 NIV
(55/365) Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:16 AMP) I love love love this verse & wish that I could have grasped the meaning over a decade ago. It's letting us know that no matter what we have done, no matter how shameful, or hurtful, we can in a moment run into the arms of our gracious God. He never stops forgiving us and drawing us near. He gives us what we need in our time of need. There is no end to His grace and mercy. He will never quit on us even in our darkest of moments. #handlettering #craftedby #scripture