Faith to Forgive

“YOUNG LADY! You march over here RIGHT NOW and tell your sister you are sorry.” 

Shuffle…shuffle…stomp. SIGH. 

“Mmsrry.” 

“Oh no, that’s not good enough. SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!”

Sigh. (Again.) FINE. 

“I’m sorry.” 

How is that two little words can be so difficult to say?

If you are a living, breathing human (which I am gonna go out on a limb here and assume that is a pretty legit possibility unless you have a super talented and technology loving pet) chances are you have been on both the giving and receiving end of an apology.

Sometimes, accepting those two little words of “I’m sorry” as the hurt party might be harder than the one who is doing the apologizing.

Yesterday, we talked about heart blockages that separate us from God. (Read the complete post here.) Carrying around the burden of unforgiveness can be heavy. Like, really heavy.

forgiven by soot+chalk
forgiven, a photo by soot+chalk on Flickr.

He forgave… So can you.

Forgiving others takes  A LOT of humility and faith. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a pretty stubborn little heifer sometimes. Letting go and letting God take care of my hurts really requires me to fully surrender to Him.

But… while forgiving others can be more difficult than driving past a frozen yogurt shop without stopping to get a snack, it is a command. God forgives us waaaayyy more than we deserve. (Remember The Cross?) Thus we are to do the same to others.

There are numerous stories in the Bible that talk about forgiveness. Remember the parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35?  Check out The Message Version of the story…

 “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

 “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

 “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

 “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Oh snap. Jesus told this story to Peter to illustrate the importance of forgiveness. Right before this parable, our dear friend (and slight blabbermouth) Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone for an offense. Then, before Jesus can respond, Peter answers his own question. “Is seven times enough, Jesus?” (Peter might be trying to show off his stellar knowledge here.)

But Jesus really schools him. “Seven TIME Seventy.” Now, 490 is not the magic number of forgiveness. (Let’s be honest. We probably have people in our lives that we have to forgive MORE than that.) But it is an illustration. We should infinitely forgive others, knowing that God is the judge– not us.

Today I challenge you to take a look at  your heart. Is there anyone that you haven’t forgiven? It doesn’t matter how big or small the offense. It doesn’t matter if they have apologized or not. (That can be the hardest part!)  Give it to God. Turn it over to Him. Forgive the one(s) that hurt you. Pray about it. And God will give you the faith to forgive.

Thankful to be forgiven by faith,
SGK

“…You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.” –Matthew 6:14 (MSG) 

How has forgiving someone blessed your life? What did you experience after you forgave someone? I would love to hear all about it– please comment here.

Categories: attitude, challenge, faith, forgiveness, fresh start, God, mercy, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Faith to Forgive

  1. Am discovering that forgiveness has layers. We have obvious hurts that need forgiving, like lies and betrayals, but we also need to forgive disappointment and forgetfulness and lesser offenses, too. They all damage us but, more importantly, they damage our concept of God’s greatness to heal.

    • Oh, JoAnne! Such powerful words! You are so correct– they don’t just hurt us in general, but the burden of unforgiveness weighs us down and does disrupt God’s great healing powers. Thanks for the fantastic insight.

  2. Momma Lex

    Such true words..forgiving someone and accepting forgiveness can be hard but commanded by God. His forgiveness for us is our example-we can’t beat that! Love you!!

    • Thanks, Ma… Forgiveness is tough– but nothing we will ever go through will come close to the cross.

  3. Why is it hardest to forgive ourselves? hhhmm?? Lord help me please!
    Great Post Sharita …. I needed to read this today (o:

    • It’s like you read my mind for the following post… That or your saw that I accidentally pushed publish instead of schedule on Monday and it arrived in your inbox a few days early 🙂 Check out 5/9 post about Forgiving ourselves. Blessings to you, Susan!

  4. Kathy LaCross

    Forgiveness is sometimes one of the hardest things to give. I’ve recently had to forgive several people who hurt me and it took me a while to do it. But as I thought about it, I was hurting myself more by not forgiving. I think we free ourselves of the power someone else has over us when we choose to forgive. I mean think about it, we are holding on to all those bitter feelings, the anger, the hurt, the sometimes hate and what does that other person care? When I chose to forgive, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Maybe it was finally freeing myself of those feelings that I know God didn’t want me to have, or maybe it was just letting go and opening myself back up again to let other feelings flow, I don’t know but I do know it was a freeing feeling to forgive. I think of Jesus in the bible in his sermon on the mount, telling the people if someone wrongs you, forgive them and pray for them. A lot easier said than done but if we want to truly live a Christ-like life, we must do this. Turn the other cheek and pray for those that hurt us.
    As always, another post that speaks to my heart. I thank God for your ministry every day and keep up the good work. 🙂

    • So glad to hear this speaks to you and that you have been able to forgive, Kathy. Your comment makes me think of one a very memorable quote. “Bitterness (and in this case, unforgiveness) is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” We can be freed from our burden by clinging to the cross!

  5. Great post! When I came to Christ He forgave me of all my junk & now I’m a new creation in Him. Forgivness is easy when your eyes are open to what He did for us on the cross.

  6. faith to forgive.. definitely it takes faith to lay our pain and anger down and forgive. Like how you linked those two words together.

    • Thanks Alicia… Sometimes we think we have to forgive in our own strength– but God can give us the faith to make it happen. (Praise the Lord for that one!)

  7. Thank you for all you do…I wanted to let you know I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. You can check my recent Versatile Blogger post for instructions.
    Peach State

    • Thank you so much!! I am so honored– I will pop over there momentarily. What a blessing!

  8. Forgiveness is hard. It makes me want to stomp my feet and then quickly turn the other direction. I think that’s why God keeps bringing posts like this to my attention.

    • It is hard… And I don’t just want to stomp by feet and turn away, but I want to engage my 7 year old self to mumble it under my breath… But just like my mama always used to say: We gotta say it like we mean it.

  9. Thank you for sharing your lovely story at “Tell me a True Story.” Your first lines certainly could be heard at our house when I was growing up. You might say “Forcing us” or requiring us to say the words, did teach us the importance of an apology and of asking forgiveness as well as receiving it. Something heavy lifts off of our spirit when we will do this small act of saying “I am sorry.” – – or “Please forgive me.”

    • I enjoyed linking up, Hazel. Thanks for that opportunity! So glad Father God forcefully (but yet gently and lovingly) encourages us to say or feel those little words of forgiveness in our hearts.

  10. fullherlife

    Evenin’ Girl!
    First of all I love the Message version of that Matthew verse! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Forgiveness is HUGE!

    • I really like the Msg version too– It makes it make even more sense. I hope you are enjoying your social-media sabbatical time 🙂 Blessings, sister.

  11. unforgiveness and bitterness, grudges. has the ability to ruin your life more than the other persons life.. its sad that possibly that person did legitimately hurt you, but if you dont forgive, it has the ability to destroy your life.

    • That is so incredibly true, Julie– I have been caught up in that before… Something that could have been forgiven and fixed in moments can fester for days/months/years, choking out your heart one bitter thought at a time.

  12. Yes, we must forgive, and not let bitterness take root. Bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit Eph. 4:30-32. Thanks for a great post.

    • Amen, girl! Bitterness tastes like it sound– bitter. Gross. Painful. We have to let it go and let God!

  13. joepote01

    Forgiveness is tricky business, sometimes, especially where hurts run deep.

    It took me a long time to understand that forgive does not mean the same thing as trust. I can forgive someone (choosing not to hold past hurts against them) while still choosing not to entrust them with my confidences or close relationship.

    Forgiveness must be freely given. Trust must be earned.

    Thanks for posting on such an important topic!

    • You are very welcome, Joe… It IS a very tricky business– one that requires grace that can be supplied only by the father. And you are correct– forgiveness and trust ARE two different things, just like forgiving does not require forgetting.

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