Editor’s note: During 2022, we are focusing on the scriptures found in 2 Peter 1:3-11. These verses teach us about God’s divine nature. We pray that as we reflect on God’s nature, you will see all that He has created you to be! For the month of April, we are focusing on God’s characteristic of FORGIVENESS.
My walk with Jesus, sadly to say, didn’t start until later in my life. I’m a Whosoever (John 3:16).
I have always known about God and believed in God wholeheartedly. I believed that the Bible was His word. I went to church. I would read a daily devotional. Occasionally, I read the Bible. I listened to podcasts. I had checked all the boxes.
But my relationship with Jesus started when I was suddenly awakened early one morning with a jolt and with, what I know now, was the Holy Spirit. In my spirit, He had said that it’s “time to deal with it!”
I already knew what that meant. You see, I had been sexually abused as a small child. Of course, I had that little tidbit buried deep. I didn’t see any reason that anyone should ever know that. It was one of those things that we bury from our past – you know those deep, dark, secrets that we hope no one can find out about. But I had scars and personality traits that were not meant for me to have. However, I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
That morning, I suddenly realized God does have a plan for our lives and mine had just started. And when God has a plan, He also has a way.
A couple of nights later, I awoke with another word: study. So that is what I did. Each book I read, and each verse I read, the Lord was teaching me. It didn’t happen fast, but along the way, I was learning how deep Jesus’ love is for me. I could feel my soul healing. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was learning and healing. Sometimes that help would come through the word, sometimes in a dream and sometimes through people.
As I look back and realize where He took me and why, I’m still just as amazed today. When it came to the part of the journey where the Holy Spirit let me know the Father wants me to forgive, that was hard! I had to forgive the ones who hurt me. My first thought was: You must be kidding!! Does He know what they have done? I can now see how I must have looked like a mad customer marching up to the service desk, yelling “I need to speak with Jesus”.
I remember walking around my house praying and even sometimes, praying VERY LOUD!. I was afraid my neighbors would think I was crazy.
I didn’t want to do it; I didn’t think I could do it. But the first thing to do is pray. You are talking to your Daddy, and you just must be honest. He already knows what you’re thinking anyway. Here are some prayer starters.
- Lord give me the power to forgive.
- Lord grant me the grace to forgive. (2 Cor. 1:10)
- Pray that God will enable you. (Heb. 12:15)
It’s hard to hate them when you pray for them. Make a choice to do it, and God will do the rest.
Perhaps one of the most Godlike things we can do in life is to forgive and forget it. When you pray for them, don’t gossip about them, just speak well of them. If there’s a need that comes up and you can meet that need, that’s the full force of forgiveness.
Here are a few other verses about forgiveness.
- Matthew 18:21-22 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy – seven times”. (This one got me good).
- Matthew 6: 14-15 “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.”
- Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Here are a few things I’ve learned.
- If you don’t forgive, it will be a burden that you carry, and it will torment you.
- It will open a door for Satan. Once you make the choice to forgive someone and you don’t feel different, don’t let the Satan deceive you, making you feel like you didn’t. How you feel has nothing to do with it.
- Once you choose to forgive, trust that God will make your feelings change.
- Once you forgive someone, it will set you free.
God has a plan for your life, I would not have chosen the things that happened to me, but be assured that God does work things out for our good. I see it almost every day. My journey with Jesus just gets better, so do yourself a favor and forgive.
We would like to thank Julie Duke for writing this blog post.