• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Forgiveness Does Not Change The Past But It Does Enlarge The Future

"If you haver never been told 'I am sorry' by someone who wronged you and the pain they caused you - I will. I am so very sorry for what happened to you. I understand deep hurt in such a personal way. Because I know it isn't just what they did back then that stings, it's what their thoughtless, careless, maybe even heartless choices are costing you now. You've paid such a high price for something you had no control over. But what if I told you the first step toward healing, no matter what your circumstances are, is forgiveness? And that forgiveness is possible on your part even if they never do their part and apologize? Friend, your heart is much too beautiful place for unhealed pain. And you don't have to be held hostage by their choices." Someone posted this on Facebook.

I thought of that as we sang David Crowder's, "All My Hope" in church. The lyrics are, "All my hope is in Jesus. Thank God that yesterday's gone. All my sins are forgiven And I've been washed by the blood. I'm no stranger to prison. I've worn shackles and chains But I've been freed and forgiven. And I'm not going back, I'll never be the same. That's why I sing." That is the freedom we feel when we have been forgiven. But what about when we need to forgive someone else? To forgive someone else is to set a prisoner free and to realize that prisoner was us! As Tony Robbins says, "Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself." There is not one person reading this that has never been hurt by someone or hurt someone else.

Forgiving others is not always easy. At times, it is almost as painful as the wound we suffered and yet there is no peace without forgiveness. We forgive others, not because they asked for forgiveness but because we want to be forgiven. Like them, we do not deserve forgiveness. Matthew 6: 14-15, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." If we want God to forgive us, we have to forgive others. Think of how badly Jesus was treated. He was wrongly accused, whipped, spat on, rejected and crucified. And He still taught us by example to forgive as He hung on the cross dying. Luke 23: 34, "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." They had not asked forgiveness.

No matter what the person did, no matter how much we suffered, we must forgive. Romans 12: 19-21, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." God will be the judge, not us. Not only are we told we must not show revenge but verses 20 and 21 go on to tell us we have to do good. “'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'" We are told again in Ephesians 4: 31-32, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Unforgiveness holds us in captivity and disobedience. Forgiveness frees us to experience God's grace and extend it to other's.

"Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us." David Richo


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