14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15
True forgiveness is a miracle - we may forget over time the hurt of another person's choice to sin, but the ability to truly forgive cannot happen apart from God. This broken world teaches us we should nurse those wounds, we should replay the offense over and over in our heads to remind us of the hurt, we should guard our hearts from the pain of it happening again. But this lack of forgiveness is toxic to our souls, and will not only continue to cause us heartache and pain, it ultimately leads to death. It is only through forgiveness that we find true healing of our broken hearts, and it is where we find freedom and life.
But how do we forgive? Many of us know we should forgive, but we don't really understand how to forgive beyond just the saying the words. Pastor James teaches us it's a crisis and a process. The crisis is the choice to forgive. We must start with the decision to forgive the person who hurt us, and in that decision we make the choice not to bring it up to them, to others, or to ourselves - that's the process. We will not dwell on the hurt and we will not nurse the wound. And when we find we've failed in the process, we must make return to the crisis and choose to forgive again. This may happen several times, but eventually we will find forgiveness.
Our deceitful hearts so want to take the hurt back - we must be watchful and guard ourselves from the temptation to wallow in the hurt while we're in the process. The unforgiving heart is full of destructive emotions - bitterness, clamor, wrath. We must be cognizant of our thoughts, and take them captive when they take us down a dark path. We choose our thoughts, and when we choose to dwell on a past hurt, we are choosing to fill our hearts with this dark emotions. When those thoughts come, we can choose to capture them and make them obedient to Christ by confessing them and releasing them. That’s the process of forgiveness.
We know we've truly forgiven when the darkness in our hearts has been replaced with the fruits of the spirit - when we can think on the person and think of kindness, gentleness, goodness.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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