So far, we have discovered that real forgiveness means relinquishing my right to get even, responding to evil with good and asking God to fill us with his love.
There is one more key element to genuine forgiveness. We must be willing to repeat this process as long as necessary. Forgiveness is rarely a one-time shot. It’s rarely a solo event.
Forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving. It goes on and on and on. Every time you remember that hurt, you make a willful choice to forgive and let it go.
Life is made up of choices. I choose to admit that it hurts. I choose to give up my right to get even. I choose to return good for evil. I choose to be filled with God’s love instead of resentment. I can choose to bless those who hurt me.
It should be noted that they don’t deserve to be forgiven. The fact that forgiveness is needed is proof that forgiveness is not deserved. But I can choose to extend mercy, grace and forgiveness anyway. I do it because I have received mercy, grace and forgiveness from God.
You might not feel like forgiving. That’s all right because forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling, anyway. People typically don’t feel like forgiving. You don’t do it because you feel like it. You do it because it’s the right thing to do, and you do it so you can get on with your life.
The secret to genuine forgiveness is in remembering how much I’ve been forgiven. How many times do you think God has forgiven you? Better yet, how often have you been in need of forgiveness yourself?
In Colossians 3:13, we are told: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God has forgiven me, and he expects me to forgive others.
Are you ready to get on with your life? It’s time to let it go. It is time to move past the hurt. It is time to forgive. Forgiveness is really a two-way street.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” When you have prayed that prayer, did you really mean it? “God, I want you to forgive me in the same way I have forgiven others.”
I have heard people say, “I could never forgive that person.” Then I hope you never sin. Don’t burn the bridge you’re going to have to cross over to get to heaven. We are to forgive because we have been forgiven.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at email@example.com.