As you may already know I love quotes, so I might as well start with a quote that struck my attention when I started to think about forgiveness:
Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.
Often times we find ourselves holding grudges because of what someone did or said to us. Whilst growing up with my younger sister there have been several occasions where words have been said & deeds have been done which left me feeling very angry towards her.
My sister is exactly 20 months younger than me but that doesn’t stop her from going into my wardrobe and helping herself to MY clothes and accessories. There was a particular time she took a clutch that I had received for my birthday and till this day I never officially got it back (to add insult upon injury she broke the clasp on it). I remember finding out about the broken clasp and was sooo angry with her – how can you take something that doesn’t belong to you, break it and not even feel remorseful? I was more than angry!! But as I reflect on those days, I realise that the more I stayed angry the more I didn’t give myself the chance to move on, but my sister, on the other hand, was living her merry life (WITH MY CLUTCH). It’s a petty example but it just goes to show and represent the fact that a lot of the time we want to stay mad at someone for petty reasons. At the end of the day, the other person is living life as though nothing had happened and you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to have the peace God wants for you.
I once watched a video about things we practice and the overall gist was that when we constantly practice certain habits we become experts at it. So if we constantly practice the art of being unforgiving we become experts at that. If we always hold grudges against people we will always find a reason to hold grudges – even when there isn’t one. You go around with a jar filled with hurt, pain, grief, and anger. That is very toxic and it certainly isn’t the life God intended for us.
Countless times in the Bible we are reminded to forgive others because God has forgiven us: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven”. So it is no surprise that the key to forgiving others is to remember how much God has forgiven us. Time for another favourite quote of mine by C.S Lewis: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
Peter asked Jesus “how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Imagine only giving someone 7 chances, if I apply this to my sister I am certain she has used up all her chances. But Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22. Of course, Jesus didn’t set a literal limit to how many times we should forgive, he isn’t sitting in heaven counting a tally chart. God’s mercy doesn’t run out after 490 allotments of grace, if he did I’m sure we have all probably exhausted our quota. As long as we repent God is willing to forgive us. God then asks us to extend this grace onto our fellowmen, don’t keep a track of the number of times you’ve forgiven them.
Jesus doesn’t end there he goes on to tell the parable of the unmerciful debtor. You can read Matthew 18:21-35 for the full version, but the overall gist is that: a servant owes the king 10,000 talents which he is unable to pay but the King instead of throwing the servant into prison and selling his family into slavery allows him to go free & cancels all his debt. This same servant is owed 100 denarii by a fellow servant, but the king’s servant grabs the man by his throat and demands to be paid. He then throws him into jail. Now there is a huge difference between owing someone 10,000 talents and 100 denarii (1 talent = 6,000 denarii). This parable illustrates God’s forgiveness towards us. It’s as though our debt to God is like the distance from the earth to the sun. Now compare this to the debt of our fellow human beings which is mostly like a few yards. God is willing to forgive us the distance between the earth and the sun (149.6million km), but we struggle to forgive each other a measly 12 inches. Think about this when you are unwilling to forgive others. Just to clarify; God forgives us first (not only after we have forgiven), he shows an example that we should aspire to follow.
Another aspect of forgiveness that seems to be forgotten a lot of the time is the act of forgiving oneself. Ever made a mistake and continued to beat yourself up about it? If you want to be able to forgive others you must first foster an attitude to forgive yourself first.
Forgive yourself first. Release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in your mind. Don’t become a hostage to your past by always reviewing and reliving your mistakes. Don’t remind yourself of what should have, could have or would have been. Release it and let it go. Move on. Click to Tweet this!
Undiluted word points to take away:
- Forgiving frees you from a life filled with toxicity
- If God was able to forgive the inexcusable in you, you should attempt to forgive the inexcusable in others
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let people off the hook for their behaviour
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we constantly allow people to use us as a punching bag
- Forgiveness is the act of giving up bitterness and resentment in order for you to live a sweet life (your best life 💃🏿 )
- Pray for those who have offended you
- And most importantly, Learn to forgive yourself!
P.S – Don’t forget this page is available to send any prayer requests you have.