Prayerfully, we have settled in our hearts forgiveness is something we should do promptly and completely, knowing it brings peace which passes our understanding. We are to pursue peace and find ourselves completely letting go of all hurt, frustration, anger, and defensiveness.
Prayer is the place to begin, continue, and end with forgiveness. However, prayer does not make all the pain of the past simply fade away. In the same way our bodies get wounded and heal, people wound us emotionally and spiritually, and oftentimes scars remain. Scars are a reminder of the pain we once experienced and gratefulness for overcoming the past. When people hurt us, there may be scars from the relationship. But through prayer and forgiveness those scars become a powerful sign of God’s grace in our lives.
When we understand forgiveness does not mean we need to forget but rather embrace the grace of God as we let go of the pain and the powerful effects of the hurt done to us, we are eager to let go of the burdens and entanglements keeping us in the dark hole of un-forgiveness. A key in this area of forgiveness is to let go of the pain in the memory, not necessarily lose the memory. This becomes such an obstacle for people when seeking to forgive because of the false notion we need to forget what happened in order to forgive. We merely need to let go of the pain in order to experience the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
An important truth to accept and embrace in regard to forgiveness is found in 1 Corinthians 2:16 “…we have the mind of Christ.” We have Holy Spirit living in us and empowering us. Knowing these truths gives us the capability of supernatural acts of forgiveness. People are not accessing the character of Christ when statements are made such as, “I could never forgive them for what they did to me”, or “I forgive them but….” Or “I’m working on forgiving them but…”, or “They don’t deserve forgiveness”. We cannot put “conditions” on others and still believe we have forgiven them. Forgiveness is an act of choice and obedience, independent of other people or circumstances.
Jesus forgave everyone freely because He saw past the sin and into the hearts of people. As people of God we need to step outside of ourselves and into the revelation that we have the mind of Christ, enabling us to forgive beyond our own limitations. When we see people through the eyes of Jesus, it is impossible to hold grudges. It becomes naturally supernatural to forgive.
Christ Jesus forgives us and we follow His example by forgiving others. Jesus made it clear if we forgive we are forgiven, and if we do not forgive others, our Father in heaven will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15) It would be ludicrous for us not to forgive one another from the heart knowing our sins are not forgiven. Yet, many Christians play around with this on a daily basis believing that God understands if they are not able to forgive. In Christ, we have the ability to forgive any one for anything. It is an amazing eternal truth and through prayer we gain wisdom in how to apply forgiveness.
Whatever your hurt is today, it is time to unclench your fist and let it go. Release whatever you are holding onto. Ask God to help you release the hurt and let go of the pain freeing your hands to grab hold of new truths. You will be free to walk in freshness with God, you will be available to help others who are hurting, and you will experience peace that passes all understanding.