The Secret to Forgiveness

God always knows what’s really going on inside my heart. For example, I was feeling pretty good about my life after dealing with a particularly hard-to-forgive person. With God’s help, I had let go of my bitterness toward him, completely forgiving him the wrongs he had done to my family and me. I thought I had this forgiveness business under control. After all, I had just done some heavy-duty forgiving, hadn’t I? I was following what I understood the Bible to say about forgiving, and I felt pretty good about what I had accomplished.

However, there was still another person, another relationship, that I was having issues with. I was having issues with her because, instead of dealing with my feelings, I had been stuffing my emotions away and deadening my heart concerning her. Now, let me assure you, that is definitely not the correct way to deal with issues of anger. After some time stuffing away the pain of the relationship and trying not even to think about it, I realized that God had determined that the time had finally come to address my anger. Let me tell you, when at last my anger toward this loved one came, it came with a vengeance.

I had lost hope and depression gripped my life. I needed to give up my anger, but it had such a horrible stronghold on me. I started waking up every day obsessing about this particular situation. It was controlling me. I began to understand that I could not move on with my healing of my past until I had faced and resolved this specific pain. This was so hard. Hadn’t I just had the victory of forgiving another who had caused deep pain in my life? Why was this new situation different? Then it hit me. The person I had forgiven was dead and gone, and I no longer had to face him on this earth. But the situation that God wanted me to deal with now was ever-present and not one that would go away any time soon.

One day, as I sat on my couch at home, I asked God to help me with this pain. Why God? Oh, God, I cannot do this on my own. I knew what I needed to do to resolve this problem, but I didn’t seem to have the strength to do it. On this particular morning, as I reached out for God’s help, there were roofers hammering away above my head, and it was then that God spoke to me. He whispered to me in the midst of all that noise that I needed to strip away all the old, damaged, broken shingles of hurt that covered my life concerning this situation. I needed to strip those hurts away and replace them with new feelings and with the Truth so that I could be free. It was my choice. Only I could make that decision. Only I could choose whether or not to forgive. Even though I would face the situation daily, I had to believe that I could release the anger and forgive.

So, I made the choice to do that very thing. I had to forgive, I had to be free, and I had to release the situation to God. I wept and cried as if a dam had burst open. I released the anger and gave my unforgiveness to God. Then, what peace God gave me. Oh, the joy of forgiveness! Once I had made that decision, I was able to trust God to help me. That is the secret to forgiveness. I must make the choice to forgive, and then God moves in to strengthen and to heal.

Is there some situation in your life that you need to forgive? Are you walking along, confident and proud of all the “good” things you have done, but secretly hiding anger and an unforgiving spirit in the deepest corner of your heart? Do not stuff it away. Do not let it lie there dormant. Do not delay to deal with it. I beg you, do not become dead inside concerning that situation. Give it to God, and He will give you peace. He will help you with your unforgiveness.

Psalm 130: 1-4 says, “Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O LORD. LORD, hear my voice! Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared” (NAS). Make the choice to forgive, and God will be there in an instant. Cry out to Him, for His ears are attentive to your voice. He is waiting for your supplication. Oh, Friend, cry out to Him now for He has forgiven you. Remember, we must forgive not only those whom we seldom or never see but also those whom we must face daily. Daily forgiving, daily crying out to God for strength, daily resting in His forgiveness—let’s choose to believe that we can strip away those old feelings and that new ones will one day reign in our hearts. Oh, I believe! How about you?

Blessings – Lisa

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