Forgiveness… It’s a Lifestyle

by | May 30, 2016 | 0 comments

In February when I decided to start my blog, Forgiveness was the first topic that came to mind. It just made sense to me because the counseling that I do is all about forgiveness. I mean, of course forgiveness is important or why would I put it in the name of my company, right? I had convinced myself that I had already forgiven all of the people from my past who had wronged me, so clearly I was some sort of expert in this area. Hahaha! I was so wrong.

As I began to write, God stopped me in my tracks. It was as if everything I put on the paper was prevented from developing into a complete thought. At first I chalked it up to writer’s block, but as the weeks progressed I could see that God was trying to grow me in this area. I moved forward with some other blog topics and just kind of put forgiveness on hold. Isn’t that interesting? Sometimes in life, I think we do the same thing with forgiveness. We convince ourselves that we do not have to forgive others or that there are certain things that do not deserve being forgiven, thus putting forgiveness on hold indefinitely.

A few weeks ago, one of the pastors at my church gave a very powerful sermon titled, “Why I should forgive?” It was during that sermon that it all became crystal clear to me. You see, I knew that forgiveness was from God, but I was still selfishly holding onto what I thought was my right to decide which areas of my life I would or would not offer forgiveness in. I was graciously willing to forgive those from my past who had wronged me, even the ones who had hurt me the most. The problem was that I was selfishly holding onto my secret unforgiveness that was still serving me. That’s where God convicted me about my pride. During the pastor’s sermon he stated that “relationships often hang in the balance between pride and forgiveness”. That statement sucker punched me right between the eyes. I was making forgiveness more about conquering my past than about living the present. What I learned that day is that true forgiveness is ongoing. It requires a daily attitude of grace and humility which takes the focus off of me and puts it back on God.

The truth is that there really is no perfect formula for forgiveness. There is no script, and each situation is unique – which is similar to that of grief. Forgiveness has to be intentional, yet not forced. There is no room for self-motivation or selfishness. Taking a hard look at where you are with forgiveness requires examining yourself, and let’s face it…that’s hard. Nobody wants to look in the mirror and have God reveal something we are doing wrong, but it’s worth it. Forgiveness is all about letting go and trusting God. It takes the focus off of me and places the focus on someone else. Not on what they have done wrong, but instead on offering them grace through God’s eyes. Our eyes always see the wrong they have done, but if we look through our “God filter” the good is revealed.

Micah 7:18-19 states that God delights in showing mercy. This is the filter that helps us make forgiveness possible. The view on forgiveness only changes when we choose to look up. Forgiveness is a lifestyle and we have to choose it daily. It’s not something we can do once and then check it off our to-do list. True forgiveness is only made possible by The Cross. It requires us to let go of our pride, which tells us it’s ok to hold onto things like bitterness, anger, resentment and fear.

So now let’s talk about forgiving yourself. Why do we always forget this one? Often times we are more inclined to offer forgiveness to others yet we still hold onto the self-doubt, fear and shame associated with a situation and that keeps us from forgiving ourselves. We may forgive you for hurting us; however, we don’t forgive ourselves for picking you in the first place. We are our own worst critics when it comes to feeling responsible for the circumstances that come our way.  A limiting belief is a thought or idea that you accept as reality at some point. It is formed based on your perception of a situation. It becomes your truth. For example, a limiting belief may be “I just don’t know if I can get past this divorce.” Forgiveness of self and of others helps us to get past these limiting beliefs and moves us into having limitless beliefs. A limitless belief says “with God, all things are possible.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 states,

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

So the question is, what are you holding onto today that you can release with forgiveness? Offering forgiveness is a form of worship to God. It says to Him that you are all in. I challenge you to start your forgiveness journey today by forgiving yourself. Forgiveness really is the key to a life where you have limitless beliefs and the hope of Christ.