5 Reasons to Forgive
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Reason #1 - God Forgave Us
Forgiveness is a BIG DEAL to God. Adam's sin against God destined all of mankind to be eternally separated from God, and doomed to a fiery Hell; unless we could be forgiven. The Bible says that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.
Hebrews 9:22 (MSG)Moses said to the people, "This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you." Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That's why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins.
According to the law, God could not forgive us without the shedding of blood, and He wanted to forgive us. God did not create mankind to be separated from Himself. God created mankind to fellowship with Him. So, God was adamant about forgiving us.
Sending Jesus as a spotless lamb to pay the penalty of death in our place was/is the ultimate example of unconditional love. Jesus submitting to take our place is equally the ultimate example of unconditional love.
These great examples of love and submission are demonstrations for our learning and duplication. Is it any wonder that the Word says:
Matthew 6:14 (MSG) "In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.
Matthew 6:14 (KJV)For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
The Father never requires anything of us that He is not willing to empower us to perform or to give. So, when He tells us to forgive, He is also telling us that if we are willing and take the first step, He will empower us to fully forgive.
Reason #2 - Forgiveness Frees Us From Being Victims
Hurt, pain, abuse, neglect, and rejection create a victim mentality within us. Our thinking becomes warped, adopting the abuse as normal way of life. Our psyche decides that because we do not, or can not retaliate against these sins, we must be victims.
When you have been sinned against and can't take revenge, or do not take revenge, this body, mind and soul declare "this must be normal"... If everything in us tells us this is normal, than we must be a victim.
Forgiveness will reprogram or release our minds from the bondage and the lie of victim-hood. When forgiveness has its complete work within, a stronger, better balanced YOU emerges. It is supernatural in that you can't plan it, you can't work for it, it just occurs. A freedom, a release, a joy that is unbelievable.
God never intended that we be victims.
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Reason #3 - Forgiveness Heals Us
Hurt cuts through the protective covering that God has placed on our emotional realm. The cover is there to allow time and circumstance to develop our emotions, maturing them along with our understanding so that we can face life with a balanced attitude.
Hurt comes through and pre-maturely removes that protective cover. Those emotions are not ready to handle the trauma of the hurt. So, a wound is inflicted on the soul. Have you ever heard someone say something like this,
"It wasn't that he wore my shoes, it is the point that he lied about it. That is what really hurt."
Of course you have. A failed expectation was more traumatic than a physical transgression. Why? Because, we are created to form and maintain relationships. Relationships rely on mutual understanding and trust. Betrayal of trust devastates relationships rendering us with the feeling of being alone, isolated, rejected and, the biggest one, un-loved.
God created us from love, so that we can give love and receive love. Love is steeped in trust... see my point? When you feel un-loved, your self-esteem is affected, insecurity kicks in, joy takes a hike and you, in turn, become un-loving. People stop wanting to be around you, because you are a mess of anger, self-pity and no-fun. You, (and me), become fixated on how we were betrayed..... no one wants to be around that, at least not for long.
This turns into a horrible cycle, as more and more people stop coming around you, you fall deeper and deeper into the anger, self-pity and no-fun-ness that stopped people from coming around you in the first place. All because of hurt that you have not forgiven.....
Hebrews 12:15 Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (Message Bible)Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (King James version)
Reason #4 - Forgiveness Takes the Hindrances off of Our New Growth
If you are stagnant in life, your position or relationships, examine your heart. You may be nedd to forgive someone. Not forgiving is like being stuck in a time-warp. Being in un-forgiveness is like being Bill Murray in Ground-Hogs Day. No matter what else you do to try and change things, you will always remain at the same point of hurt and pain that brought you to un-forgiveness.
You can take classes, go to therapy, move out of town or a hundred and one other things; but there is no escaping the bondage of un-forgiveness. The point of hurt is the point of your stagnation. Without forgiveness, you will always and forever be stuck in the same day, same hour, same moment that the offense occurred. You cannot grow beyond the place of un-forgiveness.
Are you in un-forgiveness? Are you harboring an old anger or hatred against someone? Have you buried an offense deep down in heart in the hope that it will disappear?
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Reason #5 - Forgiveness Increases the Quality Our Lives
It goes without saying that the more you enjoy life, the better the quality of your life. ANd, how can you enjoy life when you are hurt, mad, disgusted, and a victim? YOU can't!
Have you ever been with a friend or relative, having a good time, when something is said that causes them to reflect back on a painful event?
Well, now the good time is over. Your friend or relative's countenance changes and he or she begins to recount, (for the millionth time), how angry they were or how hurt they were because of something that happened. They, (or is it you?) repeat every detail of the incident.
The more they tell it, the more dramatic it is, the more damaging it is, but, they, (or you), always end with a fluff-off phrase like, "But it doesn't bother me anymore." or, "I'm over it."
The way that you know that they, (or you) are lying and still full of pain is by the intensity of their emotion as they re-tell it. When you are over something and are walking in the fullness of forgiveness your recollection of the incident has no painful emotion attached to it. If you can't tell the story without feeling animosity or any other negative emotion, you are still wounded and still in un-forgiveness.
I use the phrase, "fullness of forgiveness", because we can be wounded at different levels, and often, forgiveness comes in stages. As we forgive by faith, the wound begins to heal and God begins to give us revelation about the incident. His revelation gives us greater understanding and with that comes greater healing of the wound and greater forgiveness.
Without God, there is no forgiveness, only tolerance.
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