Forgiveness; a necessary action that must be done to free you from bondage. You must forgive in order to be forgiven (Matthew 6:15). God has been dealing with me lately on this topic especially when it comes to self-forgiveness. I thought that I had forgiven others and myself for wrongdoings but I had not truly forgiven with my heart. This became evident as soon as particular situations arose. I would feel darkness rise up inside me. Seething anger would course through my veins. How can we forgive and forget? I felt like that was a foreign and unfair concept. Especially when you never
received justice. During an interview, C.S. Lewis says,
"To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says,".
Forgiveness came through an intervention that I believe was from God. A random thought passed my mind, You can't change others. You can only change your mentality. This simple but impactful thought hit differently. Yet, God still gets the Glory because my mentality is under construction. It's being changed by the reading and application of His Words. I have to make a conscious effort in this process. I had to become patient and understand that not everybody thinks the way I think so not everyone would do as I would do. I have to be humble and forsake my pride. Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,". Lastly, I have enlisted myself in counseling to help facilitate this process of forgiveness.
Now let us talk about self-forgiveness. God is the first to forgive us. 1 John 1:9, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." Oh but what I did was so bad, God won't forgive me! REBUKE IT! In Jesus's name! Reread 1 John 1:9 over and over. David Guzik states in his commentary, "Our sins are not forgiven because we confess. If this were the case – if forgiveness for a sin could only come where there was confession – then we would all be damned because it would be impossible for us to confess every sin we ever commit. We are forgiven because our punishment was put upon Jesus, we are cleansed by His blood,".
What about my justice? Great question! Romans 12:19, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Deuteronomy 32: 35, "vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly,". Justice will be served. He WILL repay!
Unforgiveness may seem minor when compared to the sins such as murder, theft, and adultery. God understands that it acts as a conduit to spiritual separation. In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus focuses on forgiveness (Matthew 6:12, 14-15). He sees that we are regularly faced with indignations. Therefore, we become prone to rationalize and justify our unforgiveness of the offender. He also knows that when we do so, we erect a barrier of sin between us and God which blocks our own forgiveness, as well as our prayers and fellowship with him, and leads to backsliding. Unforgiveness is a spiritual abscess that poisons the soul, the only remedy for which is forgiveness, no matter how difficult.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. MATTHEW 6:12, 14-15 (NIV)
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), pp. 135-136.
Reflections January 2007—The Necessity of Forgiveness Thu, 11/07/2013 - 21:00 — C.S. Lewis Institute