As a woman of God, you would think that I would have forgiveness completely understood by now. But I don’t. Many of us know the verses in Matthew, directing us to forgive one another so that we, too, may be forgiven, yet for some reason we hang on to those little shreds of bitterness toward all the people who have wronged us.
As Matthew 6:14-15 states, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV).
As I read that verse recently, it struck a nerve. Normally I would read those verses, not give it much thought other than a mental note and keep reading, but this time was different. Don’t you love it when the Lord stops you dead in your tracks? I do. In that moment, I realized that I had been holding onto so many unnecessary hurts! Not only that, but who was I to think that my sins against others weren’t as dirty as their sins against me? Sin is sin, right?
Let me just say this: Harboring an unforgiving attitude is not healthy. For some reason, we like to hang on to our hurts and act as though they empower us. That’s a lie! We think that carrying around that bitterness will make us stronger. Another lie! Ladies, it’s time to forgive — wholeheartedly and honestly forgive.
- The woman who commented on your parenting. Perhaps she meant it to be harmless, but the comment ruined your day, week, and perhaps you still replay that comment today.
- Your husband. The one you love and adore completely destroyed your self-esteem and self-worth when it was revealed he was looking at pornography online.
- A family member. You thought blood was thicker than water and found out quite the opposite recently.
- A fellow church attendee. She disagrees with the way you dress — “a woman should be in a dress, or even slacks, but not jeans” — but little does she know, you cannot afford more.
- A co-worker. She completely through you under that roaring bus and told lies about you to cover herself and, since she was in a position with more authority, you felt stuck.
- The lady who seems to have it “all.” She snubs you over and over again, when you just need a friend.
The list continues. How do we move forward the way God intended? We forgive. When you feel nothing but disgust, when those tears are rolling down your cheeks and the blinding pain in your heart feels like nothing you have ever felt before, you forgive.
It’s time to take it to the cross. Jesus states it so perfectly and reminds us that if we refuse to forgive others, can we expect our Father to forgive us? Of course not! He doesn’t call us to do easy things all the time, and forgiveness is right up there on my personal list of the toughest things to do, EVER! But the glorious thing about forgiveness is it can instantly drop the weight of bitterness, hurt, and humiliation from your shoulders. You will feel freedom that comes from leaving it at the cross, a freedom that envelops you in peace and hope for the situations at hand. A peace that only comes from our Savior.
Can I encourage you to rethink the situations that have hurt you today and pray for those who hurt you? The situations above and the thousands of other situations that aren’t even listed….let’s choose forgiveness. By obeying God’s command to forgive, we are opening the door for him to work abundantly in our lives and we shut the enemy out in the process. God is amazing, and he will do amazing things in and through us if we just scoot over into the passenger seat.
I pray today is Day One on your journey to forgiveness. Blessings to you!
Jessica Lemperes lives just northwest of the Minneapolis area and enjoys spending time with her husband, Ben, and their three children, Aiden (13), Emma (10) and Oscar (6). In her free time, she loves to dig deep in the Word, write, journal, create, bake, take photos, and explore the North Shore. She has experienced her fair share of life challenges and enjoys encouraging other women who may find themselves in the same situations. She is currently in a season of “waiting,” waiting upon God to reveal her next step and living out each day in obedience to him.