Girlfriends in God - Sept. 26, 2008

September 26, 2008
God’s Healing Salve
Part 2
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:14 NIV). 

Friend to Friend
Yesterday we looked at the amazing grace and forgiveness we have each received from God.  Today, let’s continue our time together thinking about forgiving those who have hurt us.  As I mentioned yesterday, forgiveness is the only path to freedom.  Whether it is our own freedom from the penalty of sin we are talking about, or freedom from the pain of our past, forgiveness is the only way.

But he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, I hear you say. Neither did I.  Neither did you.  Forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the person who hurt us deserves to be forgiven.  Forgiveness is not saying that what the person did or didn’t do was right.  It is simply saying that we are taking the person off of our hook and placing them on God’s hook.  We are cutting them loose from our backs and giving the burden to God.  We are no longer allowing them to hold us captive by holding a grudge.

As long as we do not forgive, we are held in Satan’s vice grip.  Satan’s number one avenue to ensnare his prey is unforgiveness.  Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).  Why? “In order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV).

Forgiveness does not mean that we put ourselves in a position to be abused or mistreated again.  If you are in an abusive relationship, it is very important to set up healthy boundaries or remove yourself from the situation.  There are many great books to assist with how and when to set boundaries for healthy relationships. 

Nothing will make us more bitter than an unforgiving spirit. And nothing will dissolve bitterness quicker than a decision to forgive and let go of the offense or disappointment. We cannot be bitter and get better at the same time.

Forgiveness is not:

  • Saying that what the person did was not wrong
  • Absolving the person from responsibility for their actions
  • Denying the wrong occurred
  • Pretending the abuse did not happen.

Forgiveness is:

  • Letting go of your need for revenge
  • Cutting the person loose
  • Refusing to let bitterness and hatred rule your life.

Are you ready to be free?  Let’s look at six steps to forgiveness. We’ll wrap up our prayer time and “Now It’s Your Turn” all in one today.

Six Steps to Forgiveness
Let me walk with you through six steps to forgiveness that might help you in the process:

  1. On a piece of paper, write the name of the person who has hurt you.
  2. Write down how the person hurt you (i.e.  rape, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, betrayal, desertion, rejection, etc.)
  3. Write down how you feel about that person.  Be honest.  God knows how you feel.
  4. Decide to forgive.  Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision of the will.  God will never tell us to do something without providing the power to obey.  He has told us to forgive and will give us the power– but it all begins with the decision to do so.
  5. Take your list to God and confess your forgiveness to Him.  “Lord, I come to You today and give up my unforgiveness.  I forgive_____for __________.  At this moment, I choose not to hold his/her offense against him/her, but put them into your hands.  I pray that you will heal my emotional wounds and help me to be able to help someone else with the same comfort you have given me.  I cut ______ loose.”
  6. Destroy the list.  As a visual exercise, destroy the list.  Some have taken the list to a safe place, such as a fireplace, and burned it.  Others have actually nailed the paper to a wooden cross.  Still others have written the person’s name that they are forgiving on a helium balloon and released it to heaven.  However you choose, give the name to God.

More From the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God.   If you would like to learn more about being free from your past, you’ll want to check out this resource.  Also included is a Bible study guide to dig deeper into God’s Word. 

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Friday, 26 September 2008.