Forgiveness & Purpose – 3-part article combined.

What does it mean to be forgiven by God?

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now and let us reason together”, says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

  • It means to reconcile our differences with God; God is Holy, but we are sinners. Accepting our true condition and repenting (becoming truly sorry for all our sins and turning away from the sinful lifestyle to a Godly one) allows us to receive a spiritual washing that makes us clean (righteous), thus allowing us to live righteous lives and to enter heaven when we die.

Ephesians 1: 7-8 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”

  • It means that we have strayed from God, like lost sheep and through the spilling of his blood (his death & resurrection), he has made it possible for us to be restored. It is ONLY because he chooses to extend favour to us. He shares his grace in abundance, so that we can enjoy forgiveness and a sweet union with God.

Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

  • It means that we have been rescued from a dark world where the Devil is busy at work deceiving many. The Song of Love (JESUS), however is able to rescue us because he died for us.

How forgiveness came about.

We are hindered by unforgiveness on both sides.  I have had to forgive people for hurting me and I have desired to be forgiven by others I have hurt.  In some cases, I did not know I was hurting that someone, in other instances I was aware of my actions.  These experiences are common to all men, hence the reason we needed to be shown how to forgive.    God himself, has shown us how.

One of my favourite verses in the Bible is John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  I also love John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Then there is Psalm 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” These three verses are very good guides to understanding key facts about forgiveness:

  1. The sacrificial gift of “Jesus” to the World, was for you and me to receive forgiveness, and thereby embrace a future, understanding that we are not condemned. We often feel rejected or discarded because we have fallen short of God’s standards, but Jesus’ death was to remove condemnation and free us from our past, our bondages and our pain. 
  2. This forgiveness can only be activated if we confess our sins; it is a step of faith we must take, by admitting that we have done wrong and need God’s forgiveness. Without such admittance, forgiveness cannot be enjoyed. 
  3. When we are forgiven, it is for good; our sins, our past, our regrets, are removed, erased, washed away; we are made clean, completely clean. We are forever forgiven.  There is no need to remain in the past as if our failures have removed all hope for change.  Anyone can turn a new page because of God’s forgiveness. 

 Be inspired!  Embrace forgiveness and move on to fulfill your God-given purpose in this life.

Life without forgiveness

Whatever your story, you would have needed someone to forgive you or to forgive someone at some point in your life.  Maybe, you accidentally stepped on someone’s feet, maybe you broke your co-worker’s special coffee mug, or you forgot to pick up the children after school.   Even more unforgiving, maybe you have broken someone’s heart or didn’t keep a promise.  The reality is that life consists of relationships and for us to live, we need to relate to each other, we need to live with each other, we need to communicate and do what is necessary to get along, because we need each other.

If we are to enjoy healthy relationships with our family and friends, we need to learn how to be sensitive, how to say sorry and how to forgive.   We need to be at the place where we can quickly reflect on our actions and be able to realize when we’ve gone off track.  The ability to test your attitude and actions and identify areas needing improvement, is a valuable personality trait that you should never take for granted.

Life without forgiveness is selfish, lonely and empty.  It is through forgiveness, we are able to overcome bitterness and hate, the presence of which would drained you of all your creative thoughts and juices.  Your energies will be sapped because your focus is on toxic material that can only destroy you.

Even though forgiving is often hard to do, if you are determined in your mind to forgive and you are doing things to allow you to arrive at that place, you will eventually get there.

If you choose not to forgive, you will rob yourself of the opportunity of having a healthy relationship with those concerned.   If you choose not to forgive, you will not be able to enjoy sweet communion with God, you see we cannot expect to go to him and receive forgiveness if we are refusing to forgive our Father, Employer, Daughter or Pastor; it does not work that way.

I believe we all agree that life without forgiveness is miserable so PLEASE, let it go.

Struggling to forgive someone? Here are some practical “to-do’s”

  • If you can, engage them and let them know that they have hurt you or did something you did not like.
  • They may not agree that they have hurt you or apologise; that’s ok, you have expressed yourself.
  • Pray that they would realise what they did wrong.
  • Try to let it go by thinking good thoughts of them only.
  • Whenever you see them, do not avoid or ignore them; be ready to greet them and show genuine concern for their well being, even though you do not feel like it.
  • Embrace any opportunity to reach out or extend kindness to them.

Struggling with the fact that someone is not willing to forgive you?

  • Review the events to ensure that at some point you did engage the person and told them you were sorry. If you did not, then you should do so right away.
  • Once that is done, give them time, don’t pressure them. Some hurts go very deep and people need time to come to terms with what has happened and gradually release the burden of the past.
  • Do not take their feelings lightly, we are all different.
  • Do your very best to avoid hurting that person again; don’t pressure yourself trying to be perfect, however.
  • Do not complain to others about the individual’s unwillingness to forgive. It may seem like unwillingness to you, but instead they are struggling to let it go.
  • Prayer works wonders, keep praying for them.

Evidence of forgiveness;

We often struggle with forgiveness, but with divine help it can happen. Don’t pet and encourage unforgiveness in your life, you would miss the opportunity to enjoy a life of true fulfillment.

Here are some signs that you have truly forgiven someone:

  1. It is easy for you to greet the person on the street.
  2. You can work with the person on a project or task.
  3. You feel no desire for pay back or revenge.
  4. You can freely and sincerely pray for and with that person.
  5. You feel no desire to remind them of what they did.
  6. You do not give them the “silent treatment” or as we say, “the cold shoulder”; there is no subtle effort on your part to make them suffer.

When we forgive, we are obeying God, and we are ensuring that there is no hinderance to him extending forgiveness to us, when we need it.

Forgiveness allows us to experience freedom and a lightness of spirit.  Lack of forgiveness impairs our ability to be objective and to function with a sound mind, having it all together.    Lack of forgiveness also hinders us from impacting our world, to the extent that God has intended us to.  Having unforgiveness in our hearts can be described as a road block, keeping us from spiritual progress that leads to success in all other areas.

Go forgive!

Poem:

I wear a mask that is shiny on the outside.

It is hard to pretend, but then, my mask tells the story I need people to hear.

So, I wear a mask.

I wear a mask that is shiny on the outside.

No one knows the pain I feel, it is just too much to bear.

So, I wear a mask.

I wear a mask that is shiny on the outside.

I wish, he could just say; “I am sorry”, but would he dare?

So, I wear a mask.

I wear a mask that is shiny on the outside;

Not because I enjoy doing so, but if I don’t,

The whole world will know that I am a victim of someone’s selfish actions.

They would know that I am truly hurting,

they would see me as weak and vulnerable and pity me..

So I wear a mask, but I don’t want to, but it’s my pride.

If only, I can let it all go, let it fly to the hills from where help can be found.

If only, it would stay there and I can walk free of that bugging disappointment in my bones.

But I can, I can accept that “it is what it is”, I can take that other step in life knowing that God’s got my back and would make everything ok.

In my head it seems difficult, but in my heart, I really do believe;

I believe that I can face the world mask free. (written by: Janel Jeremiah)

Think about this:  Pride can hinder us from saying “I am sorry” but when we humble ourselves we can experience restored relationships with our loved ones.  So many times families live with rifts for years, unresolved quarrels and misunderstandings.  We really do not gain or benefit from harboring unforgiveness or pain.   It destroys our goodness, makes us sick emotionally and even physically.  I have said a lot about forgiveness, but I am quire aware that it is not an easy thing to do. 

Think of a scenario where a mother has three children and one of them decides to take advantage of her in her senior years, he makes up a story and lures her into signing off her property to him; he is the middle child.  His siblings later finds out what he did to their mother.  Forgive?  Yes, forgive.

Think of a second scenario where your 50 years old husband rapes his sixteen year old step daughter.   Forgive?  Yes, are you crazy?  No.

Think of an Employer who says to his employees, the Company cannot give you a raise at this time but then in the same breath he decides to give all his managers a raise and treat you like dirt.   Forgive?  Yes!!

I do hope that you would really ponder on some of the things I have shared in this article and even more so, on the bible verses shared, and really allow God to give you the capacity to forgive and watch him soften and heal your heart.

Finally, let’s remember not to be hard on ourselves.  Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is the hardest thing for us to do.  God expects us to desire good things, to have great plans and expectations for ourselves, to reach for the stars and to achieve the achievable. What we need to remember however, is that we are like gold, being refined daily and as we progress through life we fall, we stumble, we mess up.  It is through these failures that we learn how to make better decisions and how to resist the very thing that can deter us from our goal.  If God says we are forgiven, then we are forgiven.  Accept that it is a done deal, you have come to your senses, awakened, and now you have a purpose to accomplish and need to get moving.  It is all about that God-given-purpose that’s birthed in you as “PASSION”, that passion to use your gifts to bring honour to God and to enrich the lives of others.

 

 

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