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The journey of forgiveness can often be a long one. In my post I will share with you several more precious gems about forgiveness.
The journey of forgiveness—a personal story
Not too long ago I had to go through the valley of the shadow of death, as King David names it in Psalm 23. I felt betrayed by one of my best friends and it did hurt so bad. For months I felt the pain in my heart and soul and I thought it will never end. You probably know what I am talking about. Perhaps my story is your story in many respects.
Looking back at what happened I can easily say it was the worst situation of my life—ever. I couldn’t believe that happened to me. Needless to say, I knew immediately that I needed to forgive that person. You see, unforgiveness is poison for your heart and spiritual life. And it is a great barrier between you and God. Moreover, because of
Now, forgiveness, is much easier to talk or teach about than to practice—but perhaps you knew that too. So, as I shared in one of my posts, I asked for the help of Jesus first, because apart from Him we can do nothing. But still I was not OK.
The journey of forgiveness is about God
I sensed I needed a couple of days of prayer and fasting to ask for power to forgive. It helped a little bit but it was still not enough. Then I remembered that forgiveness has to be done for the glory of God and not for me to feel better. The reason why you want to forgive is crucial!
Again, I sensed small progress but that was not sufficient. I knew it was not enough because I was still having conversations with that person in my head. And by the way, some of the best conversations I ever had, happened in my head! You know the type of conversations where you are always right and you are a victim of abuse? Well, it was something like that.
I knew these conversations did not bring glory to Jesus and are not from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I knew they came from the enemy and from my wounds. I knew I needed healing! But how is healing possible in such a situation? Or is it possible?
Then the Lord reminded me that forgiveness is a transaction between me and Him. God reminded me that I am to forgive the sinner not the sin—only God forgives sin, when one repents. The Holy Spirit taught me that when I forgive I need to look at Jesus and not at the person who hurt me—this can make all the difference.
The journey of forgiveness and emotions
You see, even after I made the right decision—because forgiveness is a choice—to forgive, my emotions were not aligned to my choices. I was still able to feel the anger, pain, resentment, etc., in my heart. And Jesus taught us to forgive with all our hearts—that is, even with our emotions. Therefore, I had to give my emotions to the Lord too.
But how can one give his emotions to God? In Lamentations 2:19b (TLV) we read
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord.
But how can I pour out my heart before God you may ask? It is as simple or as complicated as faith is—because you can do it only by faith and by the grace of Jesus. You pour out your heart before the Lord in prayer, when you talk with God about any and every detail and emotion you feel about the person who hurt you. I do not know of any other way.
However, it is not easy, because you will have to confront some of your deepest, and most painful emotions of your heart. But this is the only way to receive healing and to put your life in the will of God. If you will not do that or if you will live your life pretending that nothing happened, soon you will discover that your heart and life becomes more ill- every day.
The journey of forgiveness is tough
Unforgiveness, some say, is like burying a man alive—he will keep on trying to come up to the surface. And pain, will come to the surface in the form of sickness, anxiety, bitterness, etc., and will destroy your physical and spiritual life. It is only a matter of time.
But how many times do you need to keep on forgiving? Jesus said we need to forgive seventy times seven(Matt. 18:22). That means as long as you have to—until your heart is healed.
The journey of forgiveness is very humbling. I had to cry out to God for help and for the power to obey His command to love my neighbour by forgiving him. But you are not alone—the Holy Spirit is here to empower you to do God’s will and walk with you on this journey. Whenever you choose to forgive and walk the journey of forgiveness you bring glory and joy to God. It is worth it!
The journey of forgiveness is beautiful
When I was in high school, one of my teachers made it his purpose to hurt and humiliate me in front of the class—for years. It was tough. However, one day in our congregation the Pastor preached from Matthew 5:43-48—to bless and pray for those who persecute you. Therefore, I told myself I should test these words of Jesus in my situation with my teacher.
So, I began praying for him every day and in my prayers, I blessed him as I knew best. I don’t know what God did, but 2-3 weeks later, that very teacher who mocked me for years in front of my colleagues became one of my best friends. I knew that prayer works and Jesus is right!
Moreover, while I was looking for answers to my issue with forgiveness, I read a book by Dallas Willard where he said the words:
If you want to experience the flow of love as never before, the next time you are in a competitive situation, pray that the others around you will be more outstanding, more praised, and more used of God than yourself. Really pull for them and rejoice for their successes. If Christians were universally to do this for each other, the earth would soon be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory.
After reading the above words, I knew what I had to do. I made it a habit to pray for the person who betrayed me and who was spreading false informations about me. Moreover, I began blessing that person and praying to God for him. I prayed as Dallas Willard said—for God to use that person more than me. And I did that with all of my heart.
Something happened while I was praying like that. I began feeling healed and I felt lighter every time I was praying for that person. It works! The words of Jesus are true!
Would you like to do the same thing? Make it a habit to pray for the people who hurt you and persecute you. Pray like never before—pray all God’s blessings for them! And pray until you are healed! Do not give up but rise and fight for your freedom! Do not let the enemy keep you in the bondage of bitterness and unforgiveness! It is not worth it to lose your soul!
The journey of forgiveness is the journey of the cross!
Do you agree?
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I am a blogger, writer, minister, husband to Olguta, and most importantly, a child of God. I am also a certified Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team, and I am helping people reach their full potential.