VIRTUE: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.
forgiveness: the act of forgiving – to no longer feel resentment against an offender
VICE: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue, an unholy habit.
resentment: a sense of injury or insult regarding a person, an act or remark.
The process of forgiveness is neither simple nor painless. Before we can forgive others or ask others to forgive us, we must examine our relationship with God, accept the forgiveness He offers us and check if we have forgiven ourselves for wrongs we have committed.
Harboring unforgiveness, either against ourselves or others, blocks the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. I was told once when we refuse to forgive ourselves we are pridefully putting ourselves above God. Who are we not to forgive someone God has already forgiven? That puts forgiveness in a totally different perspective.
How do we forgive ourselves? Can we divide in two parts: one who bestows forgiveness and one who receives?
The essence of forgiveness concerns relationships not individuals. The process of forgiving ourselves takes place within our relationship with God. When we confess our wrongs to God and then receive the precious forgiveness He pours out on us we are cleansed of our wrongs and freed to no longer carry that burden.
Can we find freedom from the resentment we have for those who have hurt us?
It’s often said that “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When we hang on to resentment, rehashing and recycling old hurts and anger, we are harming ourselves. The family member that hurt your feelings ten years ago probably doesn’t think twice about you. They have no clue you were hurt and are going on with their life. Yet you rehearse the anger and self-pity daily to the point of illness.
We have to let go. The price is too high to not forgive! People who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. Studies show improved cardiovascular and nervous system function by those who forgive an offender. Forgiveness is not only powerful spiritually speaking but it is excellent for our health.
God forgave us so we too must forgive. God wants us to be healthy and happy and will give us the power to forgive if we put it in His hands. If we can see our offender as God does it makes it easier to let go of our pain. One of the best things we can do is start praying for our offender. As we do God can bring about healing in our wounded heart.
How can we know if we’ve truly forgiven someone?
Forgiveness requires hard work but it is possible. Forgiveness means that we aren’t going to let experiences from the past to control our future and keep us from the blessings God has for our lives. When we can honestly wish the best for the person who wronged us as God does for us, we are well on our way to true forgiveness.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13