Conversation on Forgiveness

     The other day I had a very deep conversation with a friend of mine on the topic of forgiveness.  I wanted to understand the biblical significance of forgiveness.  The following scriptural verses resonated in my heart:

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

“Love keeps no records of wrong.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

     I understand that true forgivenss is no longer holding anything against someone.  However, is forgiveness an act of love?  If so, are we stifling God’s ability to love through us by remembering the wrong done to us?

    My friend responded by telling me that forgiveness is a means of letting go and no longer harboring resentment for another person–Christ would not want us to put ourselves in harm’s way.  She said, if a person is wrongs you, he or she should be forgiven.  At the same time, she told me it was important to protect myself and my loved ones from danger.

     I enjoyed talking to her and felt at peace with coming to terms that forgivenss is an act of love in which we are no longer bonded to pain.  However, there are times when we need to guard our hearts and our minds.

Questions:

  1. Can we forgive while remembering the pain?
  2. Should we hold on to the pain someone has caused as a means of protecting ourselves?
  3. Are we stifling God’s ability to love through us by keeping records of wrongs?

5 thoughts on “Conversation on Forgiveness

  1. Dear Tiffany,
    Please accept my apology for not responding to your comment sooner. As mentioned above, I have been battling a terrible migraine for the past several days. I thought about this comment and how truly important the act of forgiveness is, not just for us, but for our relationship with God. Your comment made me realize that when we forgive, we show gratitude toward our Father. Thank you for this lesson. God bless you!

  2. Dear Catherine,
    I am very sorry for not responding to your comments sooner; I have been battling a terrible migraine for the past several days. Your story of your son’s best friend is an incredible example of walking with God. I admire that you allowed the Holy Spirit to write that letter which I am sure was not easy for you to do. Thank you Catherine for both sharing with us and encouraging us. God bless you and your family!

  3. I totally agree with Tiffany’s comments. Forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience to what God’s Word says, totally. I often ask the Lord to fill my cup with His Forgiveness, especially when I feel like I can’t forgive on my own. It’s through HIM that I can truly learn forgiveness. Unforgiveness only holds ourselves in bondage…and we will be forgiven as we forgive others.

    I am blessed to be reminded there was an incident in recent years that involved one of our sons and his best friend. That best friend was not a good influence on our son and some very painful events came into our family as a result of the relationship. It took many years for me to come to the place that I needed to ask him to forgive me for blaming him for our sons own choices he made, regardless of his influence or not.

    Fortunately the Lord created a stirring in my heart to reach out states away to extend an open heart to him when his son was born. We bought the little one many little things and made him feel like we loved him as our own little grandson, and we did. I wrote a letter of apology to him and in doing so asked him to please forgive me for the bitterness I had carried against him, he forgave me. I saw him two more times after that event and the last time I seen him I gave him a big hug. This past July he was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 27, and buried by friends, as he had no family other than his little boy and his mother. I stood at his gravesite grieving for him… and my heart broke that he had no mother or father there to say good bye.

    If I had not made my peace with this young man earlier and asked him to forgive me, I would not know how I would have dealt with his death. I don’t know that I could have ever forgiven myself for “not” making peace with him. I’m just thankful that I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit and I took the action I needed to take before it was too late.

    Don’t wait to forgive…….or ask to be forgiven, as our own end we do not know.

    Catherine

  4. Remember that Forgiveness is done by choice, not by feeling. It is an act of obedience to God’s commandment, and done out of gratitude to a Father who so willingly forgives us, second by second. Jesus CHOSE to go to the cross, I don’t think he felt like it. It was His love for us that allowed Him to make that choice.

    Jesus nevers wants us to forget. He wants us to remember what this life throws at us, it increases our love of Him. Remembering and holding on to pain are two different things. Holding on to pain is unforgiveness…

    How do you truly know you’ve forgiven someone? Your feelings will align with your choice. I choose to forgive and then wait on God to change my emotions. What happens if my emotions don’t change overnight?? I choose to forgive again and again…seventy times seventy.

    Once you’ve allowed God to transform your heart, you will find it clear on how to set appropriate boundaries with a person who has hurt you. If you harbor pain and unforgiveness, your resentment toward that person will dictate your actions toward him/her. That doesn’t honor God in anyway, and surely blocks any flow of His perfect love in you and through you to others.

    -Tiffany

  5. Misha:

    1. yes. I am not sure that our humanness and finiteness will allow us to forget the pain. I believe forgiveness happens when we can think of that other person and not feel anger and hatred well up inside of us. Love & even pity comes out instead.

    2. To hold on to the pain is not forgive. But also…just because we have tried to forgive someone and no longer feel anger and hatred does not mean that we have to subject ourselves to their hurt again and again. Nothing wrong with space.

    3. I would say yes to this simply because of what I Cor.13 says. To constantly regurgitate what that person has done wrong stifles the freedom God offers and lets the person know we talk a mean game but don’t practice it.

    All IMHO.

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