Forgiveness is an emotion I have (& always had) a hard time processing. Not only do I struggle to forgive others, I even struggle to forgive myself sometimes.

I never knew how hard it was to forgive until I experienced deception, betrayal and broken trust without an apology . For me, that meant forgiving my mom. Took me years.
Enough time has passed, but I sometimes wonder if I ever did fully forgive or if I learned to bury it and move on.

During those years, I had to turn to God to help me because in reality, I couldn't do it with my own strength. It felt impossible, like I needed a supernatural power.

What I didn't know at the time, is that forgiveness means:

  • we acknowledge their actions are NOT justified,
  • we acknowledge that their actions were wrong and inexcusable,
  • we acknowledge that we have the right to feel anger/other emotions as a result of their actions,
  • we acknowledge that we can hold them accountable for their actions without feeling guilty.

It means knowing what forgiveness is not. It is NOT what we do for them. It is what we do for ourselves. It is what we do to honor God.

The truth is, nothing that was ever done to us, are as big as the sins we have committed against God. No matter how hard that is to imagine.

Therefore, I asked God:

I feel so hurt, and the pain seems unbearable. If you feel what I feel, how do you endure it? How do you still remaining loving and forgiving? Will I ever be able to forgive?

In reality, everyone is sinful, it is just in our nature. However, when we start to compare our sins to the sins of other, we like to point fingers and give shame. But how often do we recognize our own sins and the actions that impact not only others, but God.

We deserve to be condemned for our sins, but we are always given grace and mercy. We are always forgiven for our sins. If God forgave us for a million-dollar debt, why would we hold someone responsible for a ten-dollar debt?

Scripture says

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, " I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
"At this the servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.'
But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart." (Matthew 18:21-35 NIV)

Until we understand how much we have been forgiven, it becomes easier to extend that forgiveness to others. Understanding this, softened my heart and freed me from tightly gripping onto the hurt I had been feeling. Compassion started to grow in my heart.

But I would be lying if I said I just accepted all that had happened and freely forgave. The actions and implications were (& still is) not acceptable to me. Even though I knew I was forgiven for my own sins, the events that transpired me to feel deep pain and sadness lingered despite my willingness to forgive.
Even though I knew that the wrong-doing against me was miniscule compared to my wrong-doing against God, I struggled with growing resentment. I struggled to understand. And I struggled to let go.

Two years went by and in those years I cried every single night. I won't ever forget the pain and heartache that was so unbearable. It was too much for me to endure, so every night, I'd tell God to not wake me up the next morning.

But God saved me from my misery. The scars still exists in my heart, but no longer hurts me.

I understand now that forgiveness does not mean needing to reconnect with that person. It doesn't mean needing to go back to the way things were.

Just because we "release" someone from our hearts, does not mean we need to throw away our wisdom gained from that experience. If that means we need to separate ourselves from them, then separate. Keep distance. For me, that meant loving from afar. Still true till this day.

Forgiveness is a choice to heal. It's a choice to love. And it means that we are ready to allow God to change our hearts and use us for His purpose. It's the next step to understanding that we're strong enough to gain the wisdom that Christ is sufficient- that He is FOR us, never against us. Most importantly, it's our way to honor God because He died for us so that we may be saved.

Forgiveness is definitely not easy- and just because we have forgiven before, it does not mean it gets easier. In fact, sometimes it may seem harder. But forgiveness always wins. Have faith and trust that God will always be with us no matter what. And he will always bring us out of deep waters and save us from the pain and suffering that lays upon us.

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