A while back I received a call from someone I hadn’t spoken to in three years. Before I picked up the phone, I tried to think of a reason for them to be calling me, but nothing came to mind. After chatting for a few minutes, they asked me a question I wasn’t expecting to hear: “Will you forgive me?” And that was it. That was the reason for their call; to ask for my forgiveness over something that happened several years ago.
I hung up the phone and sat still for a few minutes to figure out what this weird feeling was that I had. It was like I gained a freedom that I didn’t realize I needed. Almost as if some sort of weight was lifted that I didn’t know was weighing me down. All because I had forgiven someone.
This got me thinking about how important it is that we ask for forgiveness for our wrongdoings, forgive others for theirs, and even forgive ourselves, so here we go:
1. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” – Acts 3:19 (NIV)
If you’re still dwelling on something from your past that you think you should or shouldn’t have done, maybe you haven’t fully trusted that God forgives you. Set aside any excuses and fully surrender your wrongdoings. We are not defined by the sins we have committed, but rather invited by God (WITH all of our baggage) to be forgiven.
2. FORGIVE YOURSELF
Maybe it’s just me, but almost every time I’ve done something wrong, it’s like I hold a grudge against myself long after the other person (usually my husband, sorry Mase) has forgiven me. Is anybody else extremely hard on themselves? Whether you did something this morning or years ago, and it’s been lingering in your heart, let it go. In order to heal past bruises and open wounds, we must forgive ourselves first. If you haven’t forgiven yourself, somewhere deep down you may not believe that God has forgiven you. Stop hiding in the shadows of your past and rest in God’s forgiveness.
3. FORGIVE OTHERS
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
We have all been sinned against, whether in small or greater ways, but choosing to forgive others is honoring to God and brings lasting peace in our relationships. Being eager to forgive shows the loving and forgiving spirit of God in you, which mends the broken bond between you and whoever has hurt you. Recognizing that we’re all sinners, we should reflect the same grace God has for us to others. We will continue to sin over and over, but God chooses to forgive us every single time — let’s strive to do the same for others.
“Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
Praise God that we cannot be separated from His love. Jesus lived a perfectly blameless life, but was mocked, scorned, whipped and beaten. That is the reason we can find freedom — freedom from anger, bitterness and resentment.
Choose forgiveness because we have been forgiven.
----- LET'S KEEP IN TOUCH -----
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October 3, 2018 at 8:04 am
A beautiful message to start the day! Yes, forgiveness can come at different times. Forgiveness is a special gift to give to others and to ourselves. 🙂
October 3, 2018 at 11:49 am
Absolutely! Thanks so much for reading! 🙂
October 3, 2018 at 8:56 am
So needed in our society today. Thank you for the beautiful words on forgiveness. I loved your line at the end, “choose forgiveness because we have been forgiven.” Very deep and the part of forgiveness that people forget about most often. God bless.
October 3, 2018 at 11:52 am
You’re absolutely right. Thanks for reading, Yvonne!
October 3, 2018 at 9:45 am
We must never underestimate the power of forgiveness, as your blog so aptly reminds me. And this point is so crucial—
“Stop hiding in the shadows of your past and rest in God’s forgiveness.” I can’t tell you how many years I did this. I came from a broken background, one without God. Finally, at 25 years old when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I felt His forgiveness. But do you think I forgave myself for all those years of sin? No. I held onto unforgiveness towards myself! I didn’t even realize I needed to not only accept God’s forgiveness, but to forgive my own self. When I finally did so, my life changed. More blessings flowed into my life because I had learned to forgive myself. Your blog reminds me of this and it is so crucial that we all regularly forgive. Bless you! Lisa Q
October 3, 2018 at 11:53 am
Amen! Thanks so much for sharing that! The freedom from the bondage of sin feels amazing, as I’m sure you experienced. Thanks for reading! 🙂
October 3, 2018 at 10:40 am
Thanks for sharing this tender story. Forgiveness unlocks something in us you know? A few Sundays ago, something set me off, and I was going to go into church angry. I knew that would have a negative impact on my worship, so I took the time to right my focus. I prayed. I cranked up the praise and worship music in the car. It helped!
October 3, 2018 at 11:54 am
Love it! A little worship music can flip your day around. 😉 But, you’re right, it’s so important to get our hearts right in order to fully accept the love of Jesus! Thanks for reading, Traci!
October 3, 2018 at 11:48 am
Thanks for tackling this much needed subject and message. My husband’s sermon on forgiveness this past Sunday was one of the most powerful messages. While it’s uncomfortable for most believers because it’s hard to move past the hurt, forgiving is such a vital part of our Christian journey.
And I like how you included forgiving ourselves. Often that’s not easy so we walk in shame and guilt instead of freedom.
October 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm
I agree. It is definitely uncomfortable, yet vital! Thanks for reading, Karen! 🙂
October 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm
Thank you for that timely word. Yes, forgiveness is a choice and it represents freedom for both offender and offended. Beautifully written.
October 3, 2018 at 12:39 pm
such a simple concept yet really hard. Especially when there is abuse. But it is still possible. I have found unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
October 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm
That’s an interesting way to put it — I’ve never heard of that, but it can definitely be difficult! Thanks for reading. 🙂
October 3, 2018 at 2:17 pm
Love this! Thank you for sharing!
October 4, 2018 at 7:56 am
Those three words can change everything.
October 4, 2018 at 8:43 am
I love the topic of forgiveness. In fact, I recently told my wife that when I die I hope my tombstone reads something like, Here lies Chip. He showed great grace and mercy because grace and mercy were shown to him.
The part I struggle with is forgiving myself. I’ve looked through the Bible and it’s not really a clear concept. I’ve wrestled with what it means to move past my own failures. How much should my past haunt me or educate me? Great thoughts though.
October 4, 2018 at 4:14 pm
That’s a great outlook — to give grace and mercy because it’s shown to us — I love it! Forgiving myself is a struggle of mine too, however, the freedom that comes from it is amazing! Thanks for reading, Chip!
October 4, 2018 at 9:12 am
Yes and amen! That last line sums up this post so well. Beautiful message that was beautifully written, Sydney. Forgiveness is so important.
October 4, 2018 at 4:15 pm
Thanks so much, Heather!
October 4, 2018 at 6:34 pm
This is such a great reminder. Lately I’ve been feeling some guild for something I did years ago but at random times guilt comes up again. I’m trying to figure out how to be free of it. Thanks for the reminder to forgive 🙂
October 4, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Absolutely! I hope you’re able to find freedom from this. Thanks for reading! 🙂
October 6, 2018 at 9:38 am
I do love all the verses you have shared here! It’s so true that God designed us so perfectly including the understanding that when we forgive we feel so much freer and lighter!
October 21, 2018 at 2:31 pm
Forgiveness is so important. It lingers in the back of our minds and hearts even when we feel like we have moved on. Amazing how refreshing it is when we extend forgiveness to others.
October 21, 2018 at 5:38 pm
Yes!!! Thanks so much for reading! 😊