Many blogs are posting their “one word” goal for 2018. I’ve done that in years past, but I want to do something different this year. Look back on 2017. Too often, we choose a word in January and forget what it is the following December.
Many words that describe what God taught me in 2017.
- Meekness (not my strength, but I’m growing in it even at 58 years old)
- God’s unfailing love
- God’s steadfast, enduring love
- Unconditional love toward others
All great lessons! All character qualities that changed me in 2017.
But the one word that summarizes my biggest lesson from 2017 is forgiveness.
Lessons on Forgiveness
Definitely not my favorite thing to do. It’s hard. It’s humbling. But, I’m reminded of Matthew West’s words in his song, Forgiveness:
It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
Forgiveness is so hard to give away. Forgiveness is the last thing I want to do today. Forgiveness goes to those who may not deserve it.
As I worked through forgiveness in 2017, God taught me many lessons on forgiveness. Here are a few I hope encourage you to forgive when you don’t feel like it. Throughout the year, I hope to share specific stories for each of these lessons.
- If I don’t forgive those who offend me, my Father in heaven will not forgive me
. Jesus died so I could be forgiven; then I can follow His example with His help..
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
- Forgiveness is continuous. It’s not a one-time event. That little voice chirps in my ear trying to put my focus back on my offender. It’s the enemy. Praise God that He gives me strength choose to forgive again and again, turning my thoughts back to God.
- Forgiveness takes my offender off my hook and moves him/her to God’s hook. Let God deal with my offender. This is an entire blog post in itself. (taken from How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It)
- Advanced forgiveness, if there is such a thing, is when I cancel the debt, close the account. This past October, I wrote a letter that said, “I cancel the debt. I close the account of offense”. At that time, I knew I must believe it and do it. I told God (out loud) my choice. Now, I must trust Him when the enemy wants me to open that account.
- Forgiveness does not depend on someone apologizing or saying, “I’m sorry”.
- Forgiveness gives me amazing peace, God’s peace that surpasses my understanding.
- Forgiveness gives me freedom. My offender no longer has control over me.
- Forgiveness takes away my bitterness and anger.
- Forgiveness allows me to love my offender, and even pray for my offender.
And the rest of Matthew West’s song summarizes forgiveness in a beautiful way:
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying set it free
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Help me now to do the impossible
I want to finally set it free
Show me how to see what your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?
Your church leaders?
God? (You might be angry at Him and need to drop the bitterness and anger)
Take time TODAY. (Don’t put it off)
Think about your heart, your bitterness, your anger.
Go to God about forgiveness.
Once you decide to forgive your offender, it will take time and LOTS of prayer. Although my forgiveness began a year ago (December 2016), it grew over the next 10 months from DAILY prayer. In October, I was able to honestly say, “I cancel the debt. I close the account. I give my offender to God.”
What’s the upside of forgiving?
I have freedom and peace. Amazing peace that is awesome. I have less conversations in my head, trying to fix the problems. Instead, I pay attention when the enemy chirps his lies in my ear. I give it to God. I change my thoughts to something positive. I can’t do anything about those lies, so I let God defend me.
Question: What lessons on forgiveness has God taught you? Or, share any suggestions to help us forgive. You can leave a comment by clicking here.