I forgive you.

Three simple, yet powerful words. Words that bring healing and restoration to weary souls. For the truly repentant they are life giving. Affirming the fact that we are deserving of that second chance. That we are worthy of the risk to trust again. That there is grace enough to go around when we feel we’ve failed those we love the most.

“Forgiveness is letting go of all hope for a better past.”

I love this quote. The simplicity of the truth it represents is so freeing. At the same time, letting go is one of the hardest things to actually do and do so consistently.

Letting go is the key to our own healing. If that really is the case, why do we have so much trouble with the letting go? Forgiveness can’t and won’t change our past. The past is just that, the past. We can’t go back and undo it or finesse it into something a little more favorable. Ultimately, isn’t that what we are holding onto? That magically, when we speak the words, “I forgive you”, all the reasons for needing to forgive will be gone. That restitution automatically occurs. That forgive and forget really is as simple as it sounds and actually works that way.

We all hold onto those transgressions that we have forgiven. Collecting them like stones to use against the people that hurt us. When the anger returns it’s so much easier to throw stones than it is to make the choice once again to forgive. Believe me, I know. I count myself among the best of the stone throwers. Unfortunately it’s become an art form in which I have become all too proficient. It’s the medium in which I express myself all too often because it’s the easy way. The weight of those stones slowly wears us down, filling us with anger and bitterness. A silent but no less deadly destroyer of our very own souls.

Forgiveness is all about our present and our future.

Forgiveness is not necessarily only for the one who asks for it. Forgiveness is an act of our own will in obedience to God. Forgiveness is an act of love and mercy. Most of all, it’s an act of grace. It’s a choice we have to make every day, sometimes multiple times a day, whether we feel like it or not. We can’t wait until we feel like it before we forgive. If we waited until then forgiveness wouldn’t happen very often. We need to allow grace for our own healing once we make the choice to forgive. Only then can we find the restoration we need.

Forgiveness is also about trust.

Trusting the person who has betrayed us is not always an easy task. While our forgiveness should be given freely, trust must be earned and that takes time. Just as we allow grace for our own healing, we should also allow grace for the one who desires our trust. It can be a slow and painful process. Both for the betrayer and the betrayed {especially if the betrayed is a stone thrower}. Ultimately we need to trust the Father to bring about our own healing. Trust Him to heal the fractures in the relationship. Trust Him that second chances are deserved and the risk will be worth it. Trust Him with our hurts. Trust Him with our hearts.

The Lord is compassionate, and gracious,slow to anger, abounding in love.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:8, 10-12

                                  

This article has 2 comments

  1. Jennifer Dougan Reply

    Hi Carol,

    Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over from the IP link up. Hmm, forgiveness is hard, isn't it? Your line about letting go of a different past is thought-provoking. Thank you.

    I am thankful for God's patient forgiveness and it shows me how paltry mine is some days. He;s teaching me as we go though, I think.

    Nice to meet you.
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    • Carol Vinson Reply

      Yes, Jennifer, forgiveness is hard! I'm also learning how feeble my attempts at forgiveness truly are…

      I too am thankful He is patient and loves beyond reason.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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