FORGIVENESS IS “A PROCESS AND NOT AN EVENT”
In my book, “Rainbow in the Night: A Journey of Redemption,” I wrote about the forgiveness process in my own life. It was not easy and actually took many years of counseling and prayer before I could truly forgive the people in my life who hurt me. Now as a counselor and life coach, I can look back through the rear-view mirror and understand from a different perspective how very important it is for our spiritual and mental health to begin the process of forgiveness.
It is unhealthy to keep those hurt feelings locked up deep inside our hearts. If we harbor resentment for too long, it can turn into bitterness and rob us from living a joyful and peaceful life.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4: 31-32 (NIV)
There are many examples of forgiveness in the Bible. One of my favorite passages is the story of King David and his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. That sin led to further sin as David manipulated circumstances and misused his power so that Bathsheba’s husband would be killed in battle. In the end, the Lord used the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. Thankfully, David repented, which we can read about both in Psalms 32 and 51.
When David repented, the Lord forgave him completely. It is clear in the New Testament that David’s sin was not mentioned, but instead, he was referred as a man after God’s own heart. That is true forgiveness and redemption.
There are two parts to forgiveness.
The first is admitting our sin, repenting, and asking the Lord to forgive us.
The second part is receiving the Lord’s forgiveness, which can be very difficult for many people.
In my case, there were a couple of sins that took me quite awhile before I could forgive myself. In order to get past that block, I needed to truly accept, at the heart level, Yeshua’s (Jesus’) death on the cross that covered my sins and set me free.
It’s also important to remember that forgiveness is not “forgetting” the wrong perpetrated against us (which could
include abuse). Most of the time, it means we need to seek and receive professional help, set healthy boundaries, and ask loved ones to pray for us. I tell my clients, that in time, we remember our painful past in a healing way so that the Lord can use us to help to others who might be stuck in their forgiveness process.
In my book, I talk about how the Lord helped me in a very specific way to forgive my mother. It was God’s grace that I was able to make peace with her before she died. We need to be “willing to be willing.” The Lord will do the rest as we allow Him to heal and set us free from the bondage of anyone we have not yet forgiven.
I will close with this Scripture that David penned after he was forgiven by the Lord:
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
Psalm 32: 1-2 (NIV)
Remember, I am here for you…
Jane “Goldie” Winn, MSS
Author of Rainbow in the Night: A Journey of Redemption
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