“Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 24:34
Many people use this verse for the “unconditional Christian forgiveness” that we all should imitate. I have found that there are many who use this verse on abuse victims. They use it to quickly make the victims restore their relationships with their abuser so they can portray the “perfect” Christian form of forgiveness. But that is not the way or reason to forgive.
I believe forgiveness has become twisted in the Christian community as well as the rest of the world. I have run into many people who have continuously said “forgive and forget.” Many have even told me “to forgive is to forget.” But then I was always left with the question “how could I forget something so horrible that has happened to me?” And honestly, you don’t forget. You can’t just pick whatever memory you want and erase it. If we did that, we wouldn’t ever learn anything.
I have also had some others come up to me and tell me that if I forgave all the time, that I am just a “push over” and I will allow everyone to take advantage of me because I am “too soft.” That could not be more far from the truth. Just because you forgive someone does not mean you’re gonna just be some big ol’ punching bag for everyone to come and just smack you around whenever they feel like it. Honestly, it takes a lot of strength to forgive. Also, forgiveness certainly does not mean you have to be best friends with the person who has hurt you.
So let’s shine some truth on what forgiveness is!
Forgiveness literally means to “let go.” Think of when you go on a trip and you are at the airport. I don’t know about you but when I travel, I have two big luggage bags, my purse, a carry on, my children’s things, and I have to push around a stroller. It becomes so difficult to walk anywhere or do anything with all of these things weighing me down.
When you don’t forgive, this is literally the burden we are putting on our lives. We are weighing ourselves down and hindering ourselves from being the best we could be.
There is freedom!
Forgiveness is that feeling you get when you finally get all of your luggage checked in and you can finally walk around freely without all of those bags weighing you down. Forgiving is giving it all to GOD to take care of so we can walk in HIS freedom!
All this time I thought by forgiving those who broke me, I was giving them a “get out of jail free” card. But in reality, it was giving me the “get out of jail free” card. The jail had been my mind and my heart. Not forgiving made me bitter. It also kept me from being close to GOD and receiving all of the blessings HE had for me. It was only after I forgave that I was truly able to heal and finally feel joy.
Now I know what you are probably thinking; “better said than done.” And you are totally right. This process is hard! It didn’t take me 24 hours to forgive my abusers for what they did. It took me time. A lot of time to be honest. I spent many days in my prayer closet wrestling with GOD. There was one moment in my prayer closet when I asked God; “Why should I forgive the ones who shattered my life?”And He answered me “Because I AM the only one who can pick up those shattered pieces and replace them with MY love!” I cannot begin to tell you how those words changed my life.
In the midst of forgiving those who hurt me, GOD reminded me that most importantly, I had to forgive myself. People become so consumed with what others have done to us, that we forget the harm we created on ourselves.
After my abuse, I took a long dark road that caused me to do some things I am not very proud of. It wound up causing a lot of harm in my heart. forgiving myself was the hardest for me personally. I blamed myself for a lot of things that happened. I also couldn’t get past the hurt. But GOD reassured me that HE would take care of it all. And HE did. And HE still does. That’s the awesome thing about GOD. HE IS SO FAITHFUL!
To forgive is to be forgiven. Forgiveness is to let go of all of your burdens and give it to GOD. HE will take care of the rest. Put your trust in the LORD, and everything will be ok. There is nothing too big or too small that HE can’t handle. HE is the GOD of the universe. HE is our creator!
We are here to help!
I know this journey is not an easy one, and that is why we are here. There is healing power in forgiveness, and we want to help you get closer to freedom. If there is anyway we can help pray with you, or if you want to give us a praise report, please do not hesitate to drop us an email. You are not alone on this journey.
Remember you are loved, are valued and you are not alone!