Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I have learned that forgiveness is truly the most essential part of the journey to become whole in Christ because not choosing it can be a true barrier to receiving freedom, healing, and wholeness.
For several years, even after learning about the importance of forgiveness, I struggled with forgiving both my mother and father. With my father, it’s always a topic I avoided. I made myself believe I had nothing to forgive him for because he wasn’t in my life. But I was naive to think his absence had no impact on me. It is easy not to care about someone who is never around, and if that person is never around, it’s easy to dismiss any thoughts and emotions pertaining to them.
Although I would have loved to avoid the father topic altogether, my Heavenly Father desires for me to be completely free, not partially free. He wants us to walk in complete and total freedom. God wants us to be whole and that will require hitting on areas that we want to avoid; areas that are uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or unwanted.
Choosing to forgive the person who hurt you can be the most important decision of your life outside of salvation. It is a part of our christian DNA. Forgiveness puts our healing into motion.
God is calling us to a life surrendered on His operating table which requires us to be opened up. Exposed wounds are painful, but required for healing to take place. My past trauma, brokenness, and scarred emotions were used to uncover deeper areas of brokenness and gave birth to the start of my healing journey.
Whether or not you truly have it in your heart to forgive, I urge you to simply say the words out loud. Ask the Lord to help align your heart with your words. Declaring forgiveness in the name of Jesus aloud removes the enemy's foothold, and it gets you one step closer to your healing.
God forgave us; yet when we were sinners, Christ died for us. We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. If we are trying to be like Christ as women of God, forgiveness cannot be an option. I promise when you choose to forgive, it will be worth it.
3 Crucial Steps to Forgiveness
Repentance and forgiveness are what breaks up the hard impermeable layer of soil within our hearts. It allows weeds to be removed, truth to be planted, God’s nourishment to be received, and our healing to take place. Although Jesus has already died for our sins, it does not give us the freedom to do whatever we want and ask for forgiveness later. No. We are to live a life according to the word of God. We must remain and abide faithfully. We cannot straddle both lines. We are either for God or against Him. Friends, let’s be a people where we die to our flesh and we live by our spirit. Let’s decide to turn away from our human desires and keep in step with the fruits of the spirit such as joy, peace, kindness, and self-control.
I have sat and stewed in anger and bitterness regarding many of my childhood experiences; unfortunately, giving the enemy an entry way into my life. When you decide to hold onto the pain of any trauma instead of forgiving and working through the trauma, it causes strongholds to form, like anger, resentment and bitterness. Strongholds are spiritual points of operation that allow Satan to exert power over you. When we decide to forgive, and choose to forgive quickly, the enemy’s grip on us loosens. We are then able to see more clearly instead of through a lens distorted by manipulation. Forgiveness releases strongholds. Let’s make the conscious decision of our will to partner with Jesus and trust Him to vindicate us as His word promises. Let’s choose to be free!
A few years ago, I was able to see a glimpse of how God the Father saw someone who had hurt me badly. God opened my eyes to see past my pain and to see that His child (my mother) was also suffering. For the first time, my heart broke and I had compassion for her. I was able to reposition my heart and my perspective from her daughter to His daughter, and it brought a new level of forgiveness and healing. A core principle of forgiveness that I love is that oftentimes forgiving is not about changing the other person. It is about the change that happens in us. We must learn to disengage our pride long enough to recognize that God’s way is the only way to true freedom. Distorted perspective and pride are barriers to forgiveness. I pray you allow forgiveness to reposition your heart, even if it doesn’t reposition or change the other person.
Ashley K. Stovall