We all love that scripture but are YOU free? Are you bound up with anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and the like…that’s not freedom, Sugar Pie, that’s for sure!
Here’s a little exercise for you before we start our sharing today:
- Write down the name of someone who has hurt you. (DON’T SHOW TO ANYONE!)
- Write down what they did to hurt you (DON’T SHOW ANYONE!)
- Keep the paper hidden until later
Forgiveness is a strength, not a weakness. It’s the ability to remove the hurt and keep the person. In the original Greek, forgiveness means a suspension of a just penalty; to release, unconditional favor. Hard to do but it can be done.
There are four stages of forgiveness, as we have taught on before. In review:
- Coming together
- Happens first
- It’s part of the process
- Just don’t stay there
- It’s a big sign that forgiveness is needed
- This almost always follows the hurt, even if momentary
- You can’t shake the memory and you want that person to suffer like you are
- You often think of things in your mind to say to them
- Don’t stay here either!
- You somehow start to see the person in a new light
- You get a revelation of their hurts/problems etc.
- Or you just get tired of hating
- Your memory starts to heal
- You can turn back the pain and are free again
- It doesn’t mean the other person is not guilty…it just means that YOU don’t carry it around anymore.
- Where possible, you invite the person back into your life
- If they come back honestly, you can often move to a new and healed relationship
- Sometimes though, THEY DON’T COME BACK, and you have to be healed alone
- But, if you let it, you will be healed in due time
- Read Colossians 3:12-14 again
Need to be clear on something though…forgiveness is NOT excuse, pardon or condoning the action. Rather, it considers everything…the act, the offense, the penalty and the future relationship. Then you give up your right to punish them. Just like God did for YOU. Leave that punishment to God and eternity to figure it out.
Forgiveness is strength…you don’t hold a grudge; you can still work with people who’ve been unkind to you and you’re willing to clear the record. Remember, forgiveness is removing the hurt and keeping the person.
Toby Mac, the singer, once said, “If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you!”
Now…take your papers out that you completed in the beginning. Time to choose…
- Put an “X” on the person’s name
- Or scratch out the hurt you wrote down and leave the person listed
YOUR CHOICE…MAKE A GOOD ONE!!