By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
Extending forgiveness to those who hurt us can be challenging, but its benefits far outweigh the consequences of withholding forgiveness. Jesus commanded us to forgive when He said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgiveness is for you regardless of what the offender does. The person who offended you may not even know that you have forgiven them. I mistakenly thought that I had to wait for the person who hurt me to be remorseful and apologize. Waiting for the offender to say they were sorry kept me locked in bitterness.
Opens the door to your freedom. We no longer remain locked in bitterness. Research has shown that bitterness can negatively impact our health. Extending forgiveness frees us. We have prayed with hundreds of people who have shared that they felt lighter, as if a burden lifted off them, when they forgive those who hurt them.
Releases our pain. Although Jesus does not erase the memory of the offense, He removes the pain of that memory when we hand the person and the situation over to Him.
Gives you hope. When we forgive, we ask the Lord to restore what was taken from us. He restored Job’s friendships, doubled his fortune, gave him ten more children and 140 more years. He can restore us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Invites peace into our lives. When we take the offenders off our hooks and give them to Jesus, He deals with them. We are no longer the judge and jury, and peace reigns in our lives.
Victorious life is the result. When we forgive, we recognize that we’ve believed lies from the enemy and acknowledge we no longer want to be locked in anger and bitterness. Ask the Lord for His truth about you. Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Jesus can help us forgive the person who has wounded us. Ask Him.
Empowers us. We are no longer victims but are now victors in the Lord. We are restored to our true identity, which is a beloved child of the Lord of the universe. Romans 8:37 says, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Take some time this week to consider who God is asking you to forgive.
In the meantime, what tips do you have about forgiveness? Be sure to share them in our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion at https://www.facebook.com/groups/433961681828074
Looking forward to your input.