I’m glad you asked. That’s a question many ask, and it needs to be settled in your heart so that you can have peace.
So many of the issues that we struggle with emotionally, physically, and spiritually result from harboring bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts.
Think of planting a garden. Unforgiveness is like when offensive particles like stones, pebbles, thistles, thorns, and weeds (offenses and hurts by others) get into our soil (our tender hearts), and chokes out the fertile, nutrient-rich soil where plants flourish.
Thought of another way, unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and expecting it to kill the other person. It doesn’t quite work that way!
Frequently in my private practice, patients often tell me they can’t forgive others because they feel that to forgive is to forget what has been done to them. Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It’s about saying to God, “I give them and the situation to You because I know you can handle it better than I can.”
When you give the situation to God, it takes the burden of your shoulders: it is no longer yours to carry, but His. He says He is our defender and He will fight for us.
He says in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Forgiving others loosens the garden of your heart, to give and receive love…the love of others, God’s love, and love for yourself. In doing so, it pleases your heavenly Father, and makes it possible for Him to forgive you.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
Don’t mistake forgiveness for feelings. People often say they do not feel like forgiving or they have forgiven someone but still do not feel it. Sometimes, it takes our body and our mind time to catch up. Declare you forgive them and believe it. The feeling will come later. Forgiveness is an act of will. If we wait to forgive until we feel like it, it will never happen.
Choose to forgive. Let God take care of the rest.
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