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Forgiveness – Can you forgive?

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Carol Cato spiritual writer

Staff Writer – Carol Cato

What is meant by forgiveness?  People often find it hard to forgive someone who has hurt them. I learned to forgive long before I became a believer.

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel angry and I do feel hurt, which everyone experiences, but as the hurt starts to fade and I feel that I’ve cried all the tears that could possibly come out, I begin to move on.  It is difficult to describe my feeling of forgiveness, I don’t always forget, but I can forgive and move on.

If I’m in a relationship with someone and we breakup, I’d be hurt and maybe angry but again after that feeling is gone, it could take months, but never years; calmness then comes over me. That’s when I know I’ve forgiven them; I can hear their name or see them without feeling hurt or angry.

Sometimes we pointlessly hold onto anger and hurt by someone who has probably moved on with their life and forgotten or doesn’t even know that you’re angry with them and we end up hurting ourselves in the process. I also believe that by forgiving we release the wrongdoer from the wrong, like cutting a malignant tumour out of our inner life.  We must set the prisoner free, and in doing so we discover the real prisoner was ourselves. We do harm to our bodies by holding on to pain and anger?

Look at what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Colossians 3:12-1312  Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others

Matthew 18:21-22  21 Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times?

22 Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!

Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is not easy for us. It’s not a

Photo courtesy inspiringbetterlife.blogspot.com

one-time choice and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness requires a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart.

Ephesians 4:31“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

Forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive. The Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us: Colossians 3:13
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

The good news is that, no matter how serious the sin, God is always seeking us out and is willing to forgive and forget our sins and give us a fresh start. As long as we’re alive, it is never too late to ask for forgiveness and make a new start!

Jesus used this illustration: “If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbours to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!  Luke 15:3-7

Remembering that our sins are forgiven should make it easier to forgive others Matthew 7:1-5: 1. Forgiveness should remind us of the great Saviour who forgave us, undeserving as we always are, and draws us closer in loving obedience to Him. God will allow our sin to come to mind (Satan intends it for an evil purpose, but God allows it for a good purpose), but He wants us to accept His forgiveness and rejoice in His grace. So, the next time your former sins come to mind, ‘change the channel’ by choosing to dwell upon His mercies (it might help to make yourself a list of verses that encourage you to praise) and think about how we should loathe sin.



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