Forgiveness leads to life. Unforgiveness is a slow death.
Not forgiving someone doesn’t jeopardize your salvation and keep you out of Heaven, but it does mean you won’t enjoy all that God has for you. And you may find yourself wandering around outside the center of God’s will.
The first step to forgiving is to receive God’s forgiveness and let its reality penetrate the deepest part of your being. When we realize how much we have been forgiven, it’s easier to understand that we have no right to pass judgment on one another. Being forgiven and released from everything we’ve ever done wrong is such a miraculous gift, how could we refuse to obey God when He asks us to forgive others as He has forgiven us? Easy! We focus our thoughts on the person who has wronged us rather than on the God who makes all things right.
Forgiveness is a choice that we make.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. — Luke 6:37
While forgiving others is crucial, forgiveness is also needed in two other areas. One area is forgiving yourself. So many of us think, I should be achieving this; I should be this kind of person; I should have done more than I have by this time in my life. I certainly was burdened by these kinds of thoughts.
God is the only one who is perfect. We have to be able to say, “Self, I forgive you for not being perfect, and I thank You, God, that You are right now making me into all that You created me to be.”
Some of us have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. Before I came to know the Lord, I wasted my life doing drugs, dabbling in the occult, and getting involved in unhealthy relationships. When I was finally able to forgive myself, I realized that God could use even those experiences for His glory. I am now able to speak into the lives of women who have committed these same errors. They see that what God has helped me to overcome is possible for them too.
You may need to check to see if you need to forgive God. If you’ve been mad at Him, say so.
“God, I’ve been mad at You ever since my brother was killed in that accident.”
“God, I’ve been mad at You since my baby died.”
“God, I’ve been mad at You ever since I didn’t get that job I prayed for.”
Excerpted from Praying to Forgive Yourself, God, and Others by Stormie Ormartin
Be honest. You won’t crush God’s ego. Release the hurt and let yourself cry. Tears are freeing and healing. Say, “Lord, I confess my hurt and my anger, and my hardness of heart toward You. I no longer hold that against You.”
When you hit a setback, it’s okay to tell God you’re mad, you’re sad, or you’re depressed. It’s okay to express all your emotions to God.
Just don’t get bitter.
Bitterness is saying you don’t trust God when troubles hit. It’s like a poison that will tear your life apart if you let it.
Job endured all kinds of problems. He lost his family, his fortune, and his health. But instead of becoming bitter, he kept his focus on the big picture.
Job says, “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!” (Job 1:21 GNT).
Job understood that God was still in control even though everything else seemed to be falling apart.
When setbacks come your way—and they most certainly will come—you must focus on the fact that God has your big picture in mind. Many things will change in your life. Your faith will be tested and tried.
Like Job, you haven’t been promised a perfect life. You likely won’t get an explanation when setbacks come. But you can choose to trust God anyway. No matter what setbacks you face, trust that:
God will never stop loving you.
God has a plan for your life.
God cares about every detail of your life.
God is in control of things even when you don’t understand it.
God will protect you.
Regardless of the setback, that’s the big picture about your life. You can base your life on these five truths when everything else falls apart.
You won’t get bitter if you keep your eyes on a big picture like that.
Lord, I admit that I am upset with You because of _______.
Help me see things from Your perspective. I know You are a good God and have my best interests in mind at all times. Forgive me for holding this against You. Heal me of my disappointment.