Turn Resentments into Forgiveness
“Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” Colossians 3:13 NLT
- The biggest miracle we will ever experience is receiving God’s forgiveness and entering into a relationship with Him based on His grace, not our efforts.
- From there the Christian life calls us to do things we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) otherwise do. He invites us to walk alongside Him, where He supernaturally enables us to live this life. We can keep running ahead of Him, feeling exhausted by our own efforts. Or we can accept His invitation and learn the peace of resting in Him, where we move through Him into deeper levels of freedom (see John 15:5).
- As we continue on this journey, we come upon tasks and challenges that go beyond our human capabilities. These challenges are actually opportunities for us to learn how to access God’s power rather than rely on our own strength.
- One of the most difficult things God requires of us is to forgive others who have hurt us. It is a responsibility we are given as Christians, yet one that challenges our humanness at every level. We need God’s power working in us to be able to forgive when our flesh nature says otherwise.
Hate Behavior, Not People
As we approach forgiveness, it is reassuring to acknowledge that the wrongs people committed against us were not okay. Jesus is not minimizing the harmful and horrible effects of what you experienced. When we look at the list of ways people have sinned against us, we have every right to hate what’s on those lists. Trying to go through life forgetting and getting over it will not change the effect those sinful behaviors have had on us, or the gaping wounds they inflicted on our heart.
It goes deeper than that. The effects of those violations sent a message deep within us. If those messages influenced us, they essentially have gained some degree of ownership in our lives. We need to not only get rid of the sin itself, be we also need to permanently remove the shame messages imposed on us as well.
Why We Must Forgive
God requires we forgive those who hurt us. Forgiveness is a powerful remedy against the very damage that sin and toxic shame imposed. It has the power to set us free from the harm it caused. Just as the blood of Jesus Christ was shed on our behalf to overcome the power of sin and death in our lives, we can apply that same remedy against the shaming effects of the violations that occurred to us. Forgiveness will conquer the violation!
When we learn to forgive people – not just their behaviors – the blood of Jesus is placed on the wound within us that the sinful act caused.
This doesn’t mean that we are immediately and entirely set free from the damaging consequences of that sin. But through the act of forgiveness, the dirtiness of shame itself is removed, thus making it possible for the wound to be healed. Only a scar – a remembrance of God’s healing power – will remain.
When We Don’t Want to Forgive
Forgiveness is a choice of our will, not necessarily something we emotionally desire or feel. We may not want to forgive, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right and best thing to do as a Christ-follower. Forgiveness and bitterness are some of the results of not Biblically dealing with past violations and unmet needs in our lives. Nothing in our human nature will want to forgive people, especially when we believe they don’t deserve it.
God makes it clear in His word that in order to live in His will, we must forgive those who hurt us.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT).
Furthermore, when we choose unforgiveness, we stay bound to the pain, shame, and toxic effects of that violation. That means we won’t be able to heal. Forgiveness is the master key to unlock healing in a wounded heart!
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