Sometimes it feels like forgiving others is overrated. I mean, why should we?
~ There are people in this world that are downright mean-spirited. They spew tangling words carelessly.
~ Others choose to not recognize our accomplishments. Their silence says, “You’re not worth celebrating”… and it hurts.
~ Some refuse to change their unkind behavior — actions that ding our self-worth over and over and over again.
While some of these tangle-makers apologize and ask you to forgive them, all too often they don’t really change. And at some point, you vow to never forgive them again. It just feels safer that way. Or maybe they never apologize, and so you justify the unforgiveness held deep in your heart.
It’s so tricky. And so messy.
Without a doubt, living an offended life is easy. And we end up adopting a victim-mentality, which bleeds dysfunction into every area of our life.
But the truth is… clinging to unforgiveness hurts you the most. Why?
… because it hardens your heart, hindering your ability to love.
… it preoccupies your thoughts with anger, bitterness and revenge.
… and it give the Enemy a stronghold in your life.
So when we find ourselves struggling to forgive, it’s usually because we’re believing one of these 3 lies.
Lie #1: Forgiving will let them off the hook
Truth: It doesn’t mean you’re excusing that person for their offenses. It doesn’t even mean you’re completely over what they’ve done. It simply means you are not going to let yourself be triggered by it anymore.
Lie #2: They have to apologize first
Truth: What if you’ve lost contact with them, or the offender was a stranger? What if they’ve died? What if they don’t even know they’ve hurt you? Waiting for someone to own their actions and words is a worthy hope… but an unrealistic expectation. You have to decide to forgive anyway.
Lie #3: If we forgive, then we have to forget
Truth: That’s something only God is capable of doing. Seriously. Remembering a hurt doesn’t necessarily mean you’re holding a grudge. It could just mean that you’re human with memories. And often, it’s those memories that warn you of danger or protect you from further heartache. We just can’t hold them over the ones we’ve forgiven. But, we can set healthy boundaries.
When God forgave your sins, He expected you to then forgive others of their sin against you.
Ephesians 4:32 says… “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Friends, this scripture disqualifies any reason we may have for holding onto an offense. And honestly, how can we expect others to forgive us when we won’t forgive others?
So… what if you decided to forgive?
Because extending mercy keeps you right with God. It closes the door to the Enemy’s plan. And it helps heal your tangled heart.
It’s not always easy.
It may not be convenient.
It’s probably not your default-button.
But it’s necessary.