Friday, September 23, 2011

Because I'm Forgiven

Matthew 6:12
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Have you ever been hurt so deeply, so traumatically, that you thought you could never forgive the person who violated your trust? Maybe, it was that bully in middle school who made your life a daily nightmare of fear and anxiety, or the jealous co-worker who lied to the boss about your performance and got you fired, or a spouse in whom you placed all faith only to find out he or she was having an affair. No matter how egregious the sin committed against us, Jesus tells us we must forgive; if we are not forgiving of others, how can we expect our Father in heaven to forgive us for our transgressions? Forgiveness, as we have been exploring here recently, is often difficult to grant even in the smallest of wrongdoings against us, let alone the life-changing ones, yet it is an all-important action that falls under the commandment to "love our neighbor as ourselves". That is why we must do so.

If you are having trouble forgiving someone and letting go of the bad memories, here are some other reasons why you might want to:
  • Anger is debilitating and self-defeating; your negative emotions crowd out the positive ones. This can lead to depression and other illnesses.
  • Anger prevents us from healing our wounds and moving forward with our lives.
  • Anger spills over to the loved ones around us, poisoning their outlook on life.
  • Anger breeds fear: fear of taking risks, fear of standing up for oneself, fear of new relationships, etc.
  • Anger prevents us from growing in God's love and grace.
Read Mark 6:12 one more time. Who, again, must take the first step in this forgiveness business? That's right, we must. Ask God to help you feel the thoughts and shape the words that offer forgiveness to the one who has hurt you. You may have to do this ten, twenty, one hundred, even a thousand times before you can completely let go and arrive at a place where the recollection of the hurt no longer churns your stomach or elevates your blood pressure. And, when the going gets really tough, close your eyes and envision our Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for us, and uttering these words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". (Luke 23:34)

Amen.

Readings
Psalms 88 or 91, 92
2 Kings 9:17-37
1 Corinthians 7:1-9
Matthew 6:7-15

14 comments:

  1. This is so timely Martha. I have been reflecting on all the little things that I say I have forgiven but still cause me such anger and stress. I guess I haven't really let them go yet if that's the case. And these are small issues! It's a matter of taking it to the Lord every day...I am grateful He is far more merciful than we are.:)

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  2. Hi Martha:
    It is unhealthy in EVERY aspect of your personality, emotionally, psychologically, physically to carry old hurts, old anger around.

    It doesn't hurt the person you're directing the hurt on. It ONLY hurts you, manifesting in discomfort in your stomach, a racing heart, never mind how that anger is affecting you emotionally.

    When you release the old hurt it's like a weight has been lifted. I'm not saying to forget, but if you can let go, forgive you'll be helping yourself. Move forward. Forgive.
    --
    Chris

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  3. Nice post Martha....forgiving is good, ultimately we all do...but while facing a crisis...it may not be so easy.

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  4. Ever pertinent, Martha...like Colleen says, I have forgiven people and am able to see why they did what they did from a logical stand point, but it still causes stress...Wonder what that means?

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  5. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!
    @Colleen - some things are so hard to forgive, to let go of, it is an immense relief to know we can continue to turn to God until we are finally healed.
    @Chris - You are so right! The anger only hurts the person hanging onto it. And, when we release it, it certainly feels like a great weight has been taken off our shoulders.
    @Janu - It's never easy in a crisis! God knows we are only human and it takes time to distance ourselves from the immediacy of something before we can truly begin to forgive.
    @Corinne - If you are still feeling stress, are you still hanging onto your hurt or anger in some way? Know God can help you through all things!

    Blessings to you all!

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  6. I have been battling with a personal issue for the last year which has a negative effect on my relationship with my closets family. What do you when you have been hurt so badly and you forgive but the other party refuses to forgive you? This person makes life unbearable and breaks down all possible communication to have the relationship restored. I must add that this person is not a Christian. I have left it in God´s hands but it is tearing me apart.

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  7. Dear Lord, Nelieta, that IS a tough one! If you have forgiven this person, you have done what is required of you. With regard to his/her inability to do the same, I would pray daily for this person and the situation, telling God, just as you did me, that it is tearing you up inside, that you need peace and a resolution to the conflict. I pray that this person's heart will be turned.
    In the meantime, hold on, have faith, and know I'll be praying, too.

    Blessings abounding for you!

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  8. Martha I wrote about forgiveness many months ago... To forgive is to step forward... to create new journeys and new experiences...
    The pain that one feels does not vanish but it soften over times....
    http://yogasavy.blogspot.com/2010/05/peek-into-path-of-forgiveness.html

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  9. Savira, I just read your blog on forgiveness and it was amazing! I love the image of the black box with the lock changing into a treasure chest. :)
    I think it is harder to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others, but you are so right - we have to do it or we can't move forward in our lives. Admitting that we are human and make mistakes like everyone else is both humbling and freeing!
    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your link with me!
    Blessings!

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  10. It's not anger I feel..I haven't even touched that yet..but it's hurt great hurt....Jesus was there but he watched ..all he did was watch.. he did not rescue or stop anything.....I question as a child and I wait for answer i may never have..I can't touch forgiveness...As always...XOXOXOXO

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  11. Martha ... yes to your question... Not a problem

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  12. forgiving most times is easy but forgetting, not quite. but time indeed helps.
    reading Bongo's comment- i guess its hard to forgive when there is a lot of pain. Hugs Bongo!

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  13. @Bongo - your courage astounds me. I know you live with hurt every day and that breaks my heart. I pray for healing for you - I think that needs to happen first . . .
    @Savira - Thank you!!!
    @Sukanya - forgetting, I agree, is the hardest part. When the pain is fresh or persistent, it is almost impossible to let go. Just a bit at a time, a bit at a time.

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  14. Wonderful post Martha.

    True forgiveness is one of the most difficult tasks placed on us. When we've been injured through the actions of another, it makes us amazingly vulnerable to the voice of the enemy, and much more susceptible to his lies. Thankfully, if we place our burdens at the foot of the cross, we're given the strength and resolve to see through that cloud and come out of it all the stronger from the experience.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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