Forgiveness – Part 1

When I was a child we attended a Methodist church. Each week I remember reciting the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer is found in two places within the Bible. Matthew 6 is a little longer than Luke 11. Interestingly, some versions of Matthew 6 do not have the last line at all – “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever.” But it is in the KJV. (When I initially posted this, I misspoke and implied that it was not in any version. My apologies for that!)

I would dare say that many of you reading this remember the Lord’s Prayer from your childhood. Or perhaps you heard of it later in life, if you didn’t attend church as a youngster. Still, most of us are familiar with it. Yet many of us struggle with something touched on within this prayer – forgiveness.

When Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, He went on to say in verses 14 and 15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Forgiveness is actually something we are commanded to do in the Bible. And there are many verses, besides these, that talk about the subject of forgiveness. Yet, we still struggle. We might even be tempted to breeze over verses such as these because they don’t align with our self-seeking nature.

Why is forgiveness so difficult?

Well, for one thing, when there is an action that requires forgiveness, there is also a boatload of pain that goes with it. When someone hurts us, the cut might go very deep. It can be a challenge to heal that wound. I am not minimizing any pain that someone else caused you. I agree that on our own we might struggle to heal from this pain. But the good news is that we can heal with the strength of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Another reason why forgiveness is an issue is because we believe it equates to letting the other person off the hook. We think we are essentially saying that what they did was okay. But that is not the case. When we forgive, we are freeing ourselves from carrying a heaven burden. We are allowing ourselves to move forward with newfound peace.

Unfortunately, when it comes to forgiveness (and so many other areas of our lives), our pride gets in the way. We want to hold a grudge against someone out of principle. But holding a tight fist around our painful encounters will only cause bitterness and resentment to fester deep inside. In the long run, we are truly only hurting ourselves.

Why should we forgive?

As I mentioned earlier, forgiveness is a command from the Lord. Jesus talked about forgiveness many times in the gospels. And He says that we are to keep forgiving, even when another person continues to offend us. In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” This is a tough pill to swallow for our flesh. But it is possible. If it were not possible, then God wouldn’t instruct us to do it. We have to be willing to forgive out of reverence for God.

We should also forgive because we have been forgiven. While it might be true that the person who hurt you doesn’t deserve forgiveness, it’s also true that you and I don’t deserve forgiveness either. Yet God is so quick to extend grace and mercy to us when we humble ourselves before Him. It says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a gift we have been given! We are happy to accept it when it’s extended towards ourselves. But when it’s extended to someone who hurt us, then it’s a different story. When dealing with forgiveness, remember how much your Heavenly Father has forgiven you.

And as I touched on earlier, holding onto unforgiving feelings only hurts us. It causes us to harbor acidic emotions inside of us, which will affect our relationships, our character, our actions, and many other areas. Who really wants to live like that? No one. We all want to live in peace. Peace is possible and peace is beautiful. This is a journey mainly between you and God. You might not necessarily reconcile with the other person. But you still can move forward.

As Lysa TerKeurst says in her book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, “For me to move forward, for me to see beyond this current darkness, is between me and the Lord. I don’t need to wait on others to do anything or place blame or shame that won’t do anyone any good. I simply must obey whatever God is asking of me right now. God has given me a new way to walk. And God has given me a new way to see. It’s forgiveness. And it is beautiful.”

If you are struggling to forgive, I hope this post helped you to take a step in the right direction. Remember the reasons why forgiveness is so important. And prayerfully seek the Lord’s help in extending forgiveness on your road to healing. In the long run, you will be happy to finally have peace in your heart again.

Photo by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

19 Comments on “Forgiveness – Part 1

  1. I think I have said the Lord’s Prayer so many times since I was young and had always found it difficult to say the forgiveness part with complete meaning to it. It took me quite a while to understand that it is a formative part of the prayer wherein I am being shaped and formed more and more into who God wants me to be and I have to extend that grace to others.
    So true that forgiving is letting go of that burden.
    Looking forward to reading the next part of what you have to share regarding this.
    Blessings my friend 🤗💙

    Liked by 2 people

    • You make an excellent point about forgiveness in relation to the Lord’s Prayer – “it is a formative part of the prayer wherein I am being shaped and formed more and more into who God wants me to be and I have to extend that grace to others.” So very true! I think it would help us to slow down and reflect on the points Jesus made in these verses. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Manu! Blessings to you too, my friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny you mentioned the last line of the Lord’s Prayer not being in the verses that showcase it. Joe and I often talk about that because he grew reciting it without the last line.

    I too struggle with forgiveness. But I think what you touched on, about “letting them off the hook” really hit home. I do believe that is the main reason why I struggle with it sometimes, depending on the situation. I don’t want anyone to think it’s “ok” to do whatever it may be; especially with the idea of treat others how you want to be treated, do unto others, etc. It is definitely something we all have been given, but none of us deserve. It helps to put it into context that if we forgive, so are we also forgiven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that is interesting that Joe grew up reciting the Lord’s prayer without that last line. It seems like it belongs in my mind, since I am so used to it. But now that you mentioned it, I do believe I recall being in other churches that did not have it. Like when I was in a Catholic church for a funeral. One has to watch carefully not to accidentally keep talking when everyone else has gone quiet. LOL… I know exactly what you mean about not wanting others to think what they did was okay, especially if it appears to be a pattern for them. I suppose in some cases, it might be best to form boundaries. It is a fine line and a touchy one, to be sure. The only way we can handle it properly is with the power of the Holy Spirit guiding us…. Thank you for sharing your insight.! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol! Yes true, it was hard for me to know what to do or say when I was in a Catholic Church for my father in law’s funeral. And I agree with the boundaries thought. I think it is good to know when to draw the line, but with forgiveness also.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We are to forgive but it also says “if” your brother repents. So if they refuse to repent you are not commanded to go back for more abuse but rather to have a formal relationship with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it does say in Luke 17:3-4, “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” Mainly, I think this is all about the heart. We should have a heart that is willing to forgive. Otherwise, we could allow that unforgiveness to spread within. Sadly, I know some people who have held onto resentment for so long, that they live in bitterness and depression every day. This is not healthy for our relationship with God. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post and the comments are good reminders too.
    I have someone who is repeatedly offended by me and many other women in our church, she’s super sensitive and it makes an unavoidable relationship really awkward but I love what your posts reminds me of — in order to have peace I must forgive unconditionally and unnumbered..and surrounding that forgiveness always in a way that points to Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry that you have to deal with that situation. I do understand, as I have also known people who are easily offended. It can be difficult to navigate, for sure. Like so many areas in our lives, it is important to remember our command to love one another. What you said about pointing to Jesus is so true. He should be at the heart of all of our actions. Thank you for sharing your insight!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Forgiveness has always been something I’ve struggled with. Just when I thought I’d forgiven, those old memories come back up and I’d have to forgive all over again! One thing that really helped me was to write a letter to the person, then crumble it up and throw it away. It allowed me to get it out in plain view and then trash the negative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Forgiveness is definitely tough and something we might have to revisit over and over. I love that idea you mentioned!!! I heard Charles Stanley say something similar recently. He mentioned when dealing with a past hurt, to sit in a chair and put an empty chair in front of you, then proceed as if you are telling the person all about how they made you feel. But the main thing is to keep pressing forward. It might not always be pretty. But as long as you keep trying to let go of the feelings, that will lead to healing. I will keep in mind your idea though. I really like that! Thank you for sharing! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very informative and well written post on forgiveness. We are so fortunate that God forgives our many sins and teaches us to do as He does. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so thankful for God’s unfailing grace and mercy, and the undeserved forgiveness He extends to us. May we remember this when it is time for us to extend forgiveness to others. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand! R.T. Kendall has several good books on forgiveness. And something he has pointed out is that it is a “life sentence.” Forgiveness is something we might have to continue to do over and over. I am so thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit which helps us on the journey.

      Like

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