I have needed to forgive a lot in my life.
Parent wounds, betrayals, abuse. You name it and I've needed to forgive it.
There was a time when I didn't understand what forgiveness was or how to walk in it. I knew the Lord asked me to forgive those who hurt me, but the pain inside felt too big, too heavy, too unforgivable. "How could I possibly forgive, Lord?" I would ask.
The unforgivness I carried was crushing me. I knew it. God knew it. Even those around me knew it. At the end of my rope one day, I cried out to the Lord and said "Lord, I know I'm supposed to forgive but I don't know how. I need your help." Don't let my few words here fool you, this was a heart wrenching, sobbing my eyes out kind of prayer to the Lord. And in my distress, the Lord heard me. He answered me. He helped me forgive.
My heart felt lighter.
I could see my offender through the lens of love and compassion. I knew things had forever been changed.
Jesus tells us to forgive "seven times seventy".
The Bible instructs us to forgive, because He first forgave us.
Prayer brought these Bible truths to life for me. I need to forgive, not once, twice, or three times. I need to forgive seven times seventy times.
When I'm offended, hurt, betrayed, my only response is to forgive. Then forgive again.
When I struggle with this I simply pray "Lord, I forgive because You forgave me. I forgive because you paid for my sins and you paid for that person's forgiveness too. Help me to forgive them."
And I pray that everyday (or whenever I feel the bitterness creeping in) until I feel peace and true forgiveness for the person.
Forgiveness is an act of obedience. It's an act of surrender. It's an act of love.
It's also an act of humility. Receiving the gift God has given us but also He has given to the other person.
If you are struggling with forgiveness, I encourage you to ask the Lord for help and use these three simple steps to forgive freely as we have been forgiven freely:
Pray. Ask the Lord for help.
Share with the Lord your heart and your hurt. Ask for healing.
Pray for the person. Ask God to help you forgive them. Pray "Lord, I forgive them because you have forgiven them. Help me forgive too."
Thank you, Lord for paying the ultimate sacrifice for us. Thank you that I get to live in this forgiveness and forgive others freely. Help my heart to remain humble, soft, and moldable by You. In Jesus name, amen.