I wish I could say that forgiveness has always come easy for me, or that it always comes easy even now. But that is not so. Granted, it comes more “naturally” in some areas than in others, and as I learn and grow and mature, it certainly gets easier (in all areas).
It is notable that the very topic of forgiveness is a touchy subject for some. Like many other issues, there are times it has been mishandled, misunderstood, and lorded over the hurting without compassion or understanding. As a result, in our quest for healing and freedom, we’d sometimes like to avoid the forgiveness issue.
But if we are to be truly free, we must come to understand and embrace the act of forgiving.
Don’t stop reading please! For those who followed the beginnings of my blog posts on healing and restoration, you know we’ve been dealing with very real and deep wounds (at the bottom of this post you will find the links to all posts pertaining to the subject). Some of us may feel that to forgive is to relieve the offending person of any responsibility and somehow sweep their offense under the rug. That is not the aim here.
In the aforementioned posts on healing and restoration, it has been explained that when we are wounded (both other and self-inflicted), something is lost, stolen, or given up. Innocence. Joy. Security. Trust. Just to name a few.
Realizing our loss, we often hold the person who wrongfully took what was ours responsible for giving it back. The problem is they cannot. The reason is we are not talking about material possessions, but rather, the sacred. These are things only Jesus can give back to us.
“I [the Lord] will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” Joel 2:25
How many years have we spent demanding the “locusts” in our lives give back what they’ve eaten?
A person’s sin against us is the taking of something that cannot be returned by the offender. Lord knows I’ve wanted to grab hold of some of my offenders and shake the living hound out of them, demanding they give back what they’ve taken! But forgiving is to release them—and to no longer demand from them the debt they owe. It is recognizing they cannot return what has been stolen, and turning to the only One who can.
Understanding this makes forgiving easier for me.
Over the next few posts, I will share openly from some of my personal journals as we explore the ins and outs of forgiveness—the next vital step of healing.