Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Offering Forgiveness and Making Amends

Have you ever hurt someone and neglected to make amends for it? I know I have.

Has someone hurt you and you've been holding onto resentment and unforgiveness toward them? Guilty again.

A class I'm taking at our church has helped me search myself- and ask God to search me as well to point out things I might be missing- in order to see these things so that I can fix them and move on. Forgiveness is important- both the giving and the receiving. And if we don't ask it and offer it to those in our lives, how can we truly understand the gift we've been given by Jesus? If we hold onto the bitterness and unforgiveness we have toward someone who hurt us, who is it really hurting?



I saw a bumper sticker once that said: Hanging onto unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die.

And that's so true. If we refuse to forgive those who hurt us, it eats US up inside, not the person who hurt us.

Being willing to forgive and/or offer amends is the first step in the healing process. God wants a willing heart because He willingly offered up His Son, He willingly forgives us and He can't forgive us if we refuse to forgive others.

 Matthew 6:14 says: "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you."

Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Letting go of that anger and hurt toward someone else is often a difficult task but it's one that we as Christians are called to. It's not a request, it's a command. God doesn't say, "Please do it." He says, "FORGIVE!" it's an order, not a choice.

And one more thing, forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to be friends with that person or that you have to let that person be a part of your life. It means you are letting go of the hurt, letting go of any payment or punishment you expect for that person. I have forgiven the man who abused me as a child but that doesn't mean I want him in my life or near my children. But I've let go of that hurt and the anger I harbored toward him and I pray he found salvation before he died. And doing so gave me freedom!

Let go and let God! He will do amazing things through you if you will let Him help you clean out the dark, dank closets of your heart. Offer forgiveness and make amends. Start fresh today.

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