(Love) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor 13:5)~
How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. Overcoming unforgiveness is a lot like that as well. It’s a process with small victories along the way. There may be moments when you feel you have forgiven someone, or yourself, only to rediscover through a trigger that those same raw emotions of anger, bitterness, fear and regret have risen once again to the surface. But at those times I want to encourage you not to give up, but to keep going – step by step. Because when you carry unforgiveness with you throughout your life, it affects you in more ways than you realize.
Maintaining healthy relationships becomes more difficult as your interactions and approaches no longer reflect the purity of who you are but rather the impurity of unforgiveness, even toward those who may not have caused you your pain. Small offenses can get blown up into much more than they were, or you can withhold love and generosity whether in words or actions as a way of trying to protect yourself from being hurt again. That’s one reason why it is critical, for your sake, to forgive.
Biblical forgiveness is the decision to no longer credit an offense against an offender with a view of enacting vengeance. It also involves releasing that person from a debt owed as well as the blame that they deserve due to an infraction or sin committed against you.
The best biblical defense for this definition of forgiveness is found in 1 Corinthians 13 where we read about love. In verse 5 we discover that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV) This is similar to how God forgives us. He doesn’t forget the sin in terms of losing memory of its occurrence, but He “forgets” it in that He chooses to no longer hold the offense against our account. We are not held in debt to Him to pay off something that we are unable to pay. This is the point that we have to get to – and I say GET to because it’s a PROCESS – and it’s NOT EASY – in fact it’s VERY ROUGH – we don’t just GET there but we have to WORK TOWARD IT. There are hurts that happened against me, even as a child, that I carry to this day but if I hadn’t and if I don’t continue to CHOOSE the forgiveness process one step at a time, the pain from those hurts will never go away.
My brother and I were estranged for many years because of childhood hurt and while I didn’t WANT to be angry at him anymore, I didn’t take the steps up that mountain of forgiveness for a long time. I was fortunate enough to do it and when I last saw him, it was like a leap to the top because at that point, it was over. We truly reconciled. I felt complete forgiveness for him and that (what felt like) lifetime of stress of unforgiveness was gone. I say ‘last saw him’ because that was the last time I would see him. My brother died later that year. I’m just glad we had that time – and although he’s gone, I’ve got peace over something that haunted my spirit for much of my life. I have a cousin and an aunt and uncle that I recently did the same thing with. It’s Time! I’m back on that mountain headed for the top. I pray we get more years than I did with my brother after the process!
If you don’t do it for anything else – climb that mountain – choose to forgive for PEACE – for yourself!
Thanks for reading! God Bless!