The Weight of Bitterness or The Freedom of Forgiveness?

Are we missing out on one of the greatest gifts given to us simply because we don't understand that the one who benefits the most from forgiveness is the one forgiving, not the one being forgiven?

This past Sunday was the second week of our Co//ide series. We looked at the collision between our hurt and our need to forgive. To listen to the full message click here.

It's a proven fact that many of our physical, emotional, relational and even our spiritual problems stem from an unwillingness to forgive those who have offended us.

Imagine carrying around a backpack weighted down to the max. Imagine that weight is the result of all the hurt, hatred and resentment that we carry around everyday toward those that have offended us.

Now imagine what it would feel like to be free from all that weight!

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Here are somethings to know about forgiveness:

  •     Forgiveness isn't excusing the wrong that was done.
  •     Forgiveness doesn't mean that justice should not be served.
  •     Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting.
  •     Your unwillingness to forgive isn't hurting the other person for hurting you.
  •     Forgiveness doesn't mean you're setting yourself up to be hurt again.
  •     Forgiveness keeps us right with God.
  •     Forgiveness is more about us than it is them.

Forgiveness is a process, a journey – it starts by understanding the benefits of forgiveness.The person who suffers the most by not forgiving is the one withholding forgiveness. The opposite is true as well: the one who benefits the most is the one who forgives.

To experience the true benefits of forgiveness consider following these steps:
  1. Ask God to help you identify the people you need to forgive. Remember, the most over looked names are God and your own name.
  2. Acknowledge the hurt, hate and bitterness.
  3. Acknowledge the significance of the Cross. The cross makes forgiveness legally and morally right. Christ died for all sin - mine, yours and those who wrong us.
  4. Decide to forgive! True forgiveness has to come from the heart – not just the head. Forgiveness is a act of the will - Only when it comes from the heart will we experience the true benefits.
  5. Go to God with your list and pray this prayer: “I forgive (name) for (list all the offenses and how they made you feel).”
  6. Own up to any part of the blame you might have in connection with the offense.
Don't expect that your decision to forgive will result in major changes in the other person. Do expect positive results of forgiveness in you. 

Remember forgiveness is more about you than it is them.

People are going to hurt us! But God has given us an incredible gift: we can choose to use it or not.

You can choose to live with the consequences of life in one of two ways: with the weight of resentment or in the freedom of forgiveness!

Jesus said learn from me and I will give you rest for your souls!

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