Here is the devotional:
One of the most common statements I hear when working with people who are having a hard time forgiving is: “But the person who hurt me needs to apologize before I forgive them. They need to admit their guilt.”
This is where Jesus’s example of forgiveness is so powerful. As he hung on the cross, right in the middle of an act of betrayal by the very people he came to help, he said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus forgave before we ever asked for it. I’m convinced this is the model for true forgiveness. We need to forgive before those who hurt us even know that they’re being forgiven. We simply release them, whether they ask for forgiveness or not.
You may never hear an apology from the person who hurt you. They may never admit guilt. If the person who hurt you is a parent who has passed away, or a criminal who was never caught, it isn’t possible to seek a confession. In many cases, it’s dangerous and unwise to confront the person who hurt you.
The great news is, you don’t need the other person to acknowledge their guilt before you can forgive them. The power to forgive is in your hands, right here and now. Being a forgiving person is part of your new identity in Christ. Your true self is a forgiving person because God gives you the grace to forgive, if you’ll just take it. Even if circumstances or your environment don’t change, you can walk in the freedom of forgiveness.
Here’s another myth of forgiveness. “I’ll forgive when it feels right.” I hate to break it to you, but that good feeling will probably never come. But forgiveness doesn’t come as a result of some mystical good feeling. Instead, it’s the opposite. The good feeling of forgiveness will only come after you choose to forgive and keep reminding yourself of your decision.
When you make a decision to forgive, it’s done. You’ve forgiven. Now you just live it out, even if your feelings haven’t caught up. It’s not that you fake it until you make it, it’s more a conscious decision to embrace the reality that you are a forgiving person in Christ – that’s part of your new identity in Him. So you walk in ongoing forgiveness.
The final myth of forgiveness is a line most of us have heard so many times that we don’t even realize how flawed it is. The myth is this: Forgive and forget.
Let me be blunt: you cannot forgive and forget. It’s impossible. Your mind is too powerful to just forget. If you spend your life trying to forget something someone did to you, thinking this is true forgiveness, you’ll live in constant guilt. We don’t forgive and forget, we forgive and choose to remember with forgiveness.
God’s grace gives you the power to forgive. You just need to make the decision to embrace that grace by letting go and forgiving those who hurt you.
Here are the scriptures referenced:
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Luke 23:34 KJV
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 KJV
Here are Stu’s thoughts:
So true on the forgive and forget myth. Out brains will not allow us to forget.
Now we may suffer from memory loss. I know that I do but that is a result of old age and years of watching porn.
And some may block something from their memory. I did that as well.
But with memory loss and blocking it is still in our brain and eventually something will trigger that box to be opened.
Our brain/computer really has no delete button!
Trust me there is a lot of junk I wish I could forget…things done to me, things I have done to others and words spoken!
Once I went through the 12 step program and God really focused on my forgiving others it became “easier” to forgive. I know how important it is for my spiritual walk and my sanity.
Carrying around unforgiveness makes us ugly. We act differently to others than we normally would. We hold ourselves differently. We speak differently. And because we are hurting we end hurting others.
I try to forgive instantly even though it doesn’t happen all the time. It’s almost like somethings I just want to hold onto for some odd reason.
The author is also right about the fact that you may never get an apology from the person who wronged you. Heck they may not even know they wronged you because to them it was no big thing. To you it was because of how you reacted or felt.
Also all of us are going through crap we don’t tell everyone about. We could really be hurting and say something that is a normal saying but because we are dealing with stuff it comes off wrong. No big deal because we, in our hurt or stressed out state, do not realize it came any different than something we said to the same person yesterday. But to the person hearing it…yeah…it hurt them without us even knowing.
I had that one happen to me last week at work with one of the salesmen. But he actually cam up to me and told me I hurt his feelings. Which was cool because I didn’t think anything about it til he said something. I immediately apologized.
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…powerfully statement by Jesus.
We should have that same mindset. Can we?