Choosing Forgiveness

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But Why Forgive?

 

The first reason that I knew to forgive another person was that I, too, needed God’s forgiveness; so, I could not withhold it from somebody else.

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“And when you stand praying,

if you hold anything against anyone,

forgive him,

so that your Father in heaven

may forgive you your sins.”

Mark 11: 25

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Second, I believed that if the one who hurt me really understood what they were doing, then they would not be doing it. Doing wrong keeps one in darkness.

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“Jesus said,

‘Father, forgive them,

for they do not know what they are doing.'”

Luke 23:34a

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Third, I knew that if I held onto unforgiveness, it would hurt only me. I reflected on Matthew 18:21-35.

Fourth, I knew that God’s Word proclaimed that ‘Vengeance is Mine.’ That is, it is God’s job, not mine, to execute justice.

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“Do not take revenge, my friends,

but leave room for God’s wrath,

for it is written:

‘It is mine to avenge;

I will repay,’says the Lord.”

Romans 12:19

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I knew that God Himself could do a much better job at handling what the person had done than I could. The sooner that I stepped out of the way, the more that God could move into that person’s heart and life. So I handed this person over to God by making the choice, aloud, to forgive them.

It was simply a choice to forgive them, having nothing to do with my feelings which would change back and forth with a thought or a memory.

Forgiveness did not mean that I had agreed with what they had done. It just meant that I was willing to allow God to handle the person in His way and in His time.

It was a choice that I would have to make repeatedly, but one that I had already settled in my heart, so I did not need to use up energy pondering about whether I would or would not do it. I simply did it again, aloud, every time I noticed that I felt offended.

Sometimes, when it was very hard, I’d pray, “Lord, I am willing, please help me to forgive them.” And when I opened my heart to God, He was faithful to fill it with His supernatural love and strength to forgive those who had hurt me.

I also knew that it did not mean I was fully healed from the wound that had been inflicted; it just was a first step in the journey I would travel towards healing, keeping me close to God, and allowing God’s plan to unfold in my life.

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Excerpt from When God Is Faithful, And Your Husband Isn’t, by Janice Porter Lynch 2011