In our own strength, it can seem impossible to truly forgive a wrong committed once, twice, or even seventy times seven.

Healing Through Forgiveness

by Fia Curley
2/23/16 Christian Living

Father. Creator. Maker. Lord.

There are many names for our great God. Throughout Scripture, we see that He is amazing and does amazing things, resulting in the revelation of His character.

One of the remarkable facets of God’s character is His inexhaustible willingness and overwhelming ability to heal. Thankfully His desire and power for healing is not just brought to bear in our bodies, but also in our souls.

His power is able to permeate every part of our being and flow into our relationships. If this were not true, Jesus would not have prayed, “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Mt. 6:12).

If it were not possible to forgive, Jesus would not have spoken these words, nor would He have taken the time to adequately warn us.

“For if you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men for their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” (Mt. 6:14–15)

The principle seems simple enough: Our forgiveness is linked to how we forgive others. It’s the practice of this principle that feels a bit more challenging. In our own strength, it can seem impossible to truly forgive a wrong committed once, twice, or even seventy times seven.

To emphasize the importance of this lesson, our Good Teacher elaborates in Luke:

“For if you love those who love you, what thanks do you receive? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you receive? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks do you receive? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much in return. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Be therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:32–36)

To live the reality of this passage takes the living Word Himself to bring about change, transformation, and even the desire to carry this out.

Jesus knew that what He was saying would challenge our way of thinking, our emotions, and our ideas of love, which is why He said, “But I say to you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Lk. 6:27).”  Like with all other works of the Spirit, what is impossible for man becomes possible with God.

This isn’t just what Jesus taught, but also what He lived.

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7)

As His life fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecies, Jesus displayed forgiveness, time and time again. When others lied about Him, mocked Him, and tried to kill Him, Jesus forgave.

Even after being embarrassed, beaten beyond recognition and left to die a criminal’s death on a cross, Jesus extended forgiveness, praying for those who’d persecuted Him, living in the reality of Luke 6:28.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'” (Lk. 23:34)

Forgiveness didn’t change Jesus’ situation. He still died on the cross. But forgiveness allowed love to win as not just a feeling, but an action that displayed the patient, kind, selfless love of the Father who is just and merciful, and is able to keep no record of wrongs.

For the parents struggling to forgive the drunk driver whose one decision ended their daughter’s life, to the child struggling to honor a verbally abusive parent, to the family learning to trust the words of their recovering son, or the mother dealing with the reality of broken vows, God helps us appropriate the gift He’s given us in order to walk in love.

Even when it feels impossible, as ones who have been forgiven much, we are able to show that same degree of love. We’re able to love God and give that same love and forgiveness to those who have hurt us, whether it was intentional or accidental. Forgiveness is not just good for the person who committed the wrong, it’s good for the person who is forgiving. It’s essential.

Jesus knew the detrimental effects unforgiveness would have on us. He knew forgiveness would be the pathway to freedom for His followers. They were going to be internationally persecuted, harmed, abused, and maligned. While their bodies would undergo what felt like defeat, the gift of walking in love and forgiveness toward their persecutors would free their emotions to obey Christ’s words, follow His example and live in the freedom and power Jesus purchased for them.

It’s possible for us to also live in this level of freedom, as we read God’s word and rely on the Lord to cause us to stand in opposition to the work of the enemy.

If you find yourself needing practical steps of walking free from bitterness to forgive others, grab a copy of Tracey Bickle’s recent book, Chaos Beneath the Shade. With decades of experience in inner healing and working through her own personal disappointments, Tracey guides the reader through the realities of forgiveness over unmet expectations that can create bitterness within us toward the pathway to peace and the Prince of Peace who restores our souls.

Fia Curley

position

Fia Curley serves on the NightWatch at IHOPKC, participating in prayer, worship, and intercession from midnight to 6am. She enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship, and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders, and immigrants from non-Christian nations.

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