Forgiveness is a simple concept but often a challenging practice, especially when forgiving those who have caused us deep emotional wounds. However, embracing the power of forgiveness can pave the way for healing and liberation.
The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the significance of forgiveness. In Colossians 3:13, we read, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." This verse not only calls us to forgive but to forgive in the way we have been forgiven by God – unconditionally and generously.
"It's important to understand that forgiveness is not about dismissing the wrong or justifying the hurt. It's about releasing the burden of bitterness, resentment, and anger that we carry within us. "
Forgiveness from a Biblical Perspective
The Greek word for forgiveness is "aphiemi" (pronounced af-ee'-ay-mee). This word literally means "to let go" or "to send away." It is used in the context of canceling or forgiving debts, releasing someone from obligation or penalty, and forgiving sins or wrongdoings.
From a biblical perspective, forgiveness is an act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, the Greek word translated as "forgiveness" literally means "to let go," as when a person does not demand payment for a debt.
The Bible mentions two essential aspects of forgiveness: God's forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others.
God's Forgiveness: The Bible declares that God is a forgiving God. One of the central themes of Christianity is that God pardons or forgives our sins. We see this in numerous scriptures like Psalm 103:12 which says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us," and 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
2. Our Forgiveness of Others: In the same way, believers are called upon to forgive others who have wronged them. An essential teaching found in the Bible is the principle that we must forgive others in the same way God forgave us. This is vividly illustrated in the Lord's Prayer, which states, "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Matthew 6:12)
Jesus reiterated this point when he said in Mark 11:25, "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."
"Biblical forgiveness, then, is not about ignoring or forgetting wrongdoing but about releasing resentment and thoughts of revenge. It's a step towards healing, reconciliation, and restoration, ultimately demonstrating love and grace, mirroring the love and grace God extends to us."
In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul instructs us to "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." Here, the act of forgiveness is framed not merely as a noble virtue but as a calling—a reflection of the divine grace we ourselves have received.
When we've been deeply hurt or betrayed, our instinct may not be to forgive but rather to retreat, build up walls, or even plot revenge. However, the Bible presents a transformative alternative: forgiveness. It's not about dismissing the wrong, condoning harmful behavior, or forgetting the pain. Rather, forgiveness is about liberating ourselves from the heavy burden of resentment and anger, breaking the chains that bind us to the past, and opening the door to healing and peace. So, how do we harness the power of forgiveness and let go of past hurts efficiently?
The Journey Towards Forgiveness
1. Acknowledge the Hurt: Forgiveness is a journey, not a destination. The first step to forgiveness is acknowledging the hurt. Suppressing the pain only feeds bitterness. Be honest with yourself and with God about your feelings. This transparency creates the space for healing to begin.
2. Seek God's Strength: Forgiveness isn't easy, and it's not something we can achieve on our own. We need God's strength and grace. Ask God to help you see the person who hurt you from His perspective. This can sometimes help to cultivate compassion and foster forgiveness. Seek Him in prayer and ask Him to give you the power to forgive.
3. Release the Hurt to God: Once you've acknowledged the hurt and sought God's strength, it's time to release the hurt to God. Visualize yourself handing over the hurt, anger, and resentment to God. As we yield our pain to God, we can then begin the process of releasing the hurt. This act of surrender is not an admission of defeat but a bold step towards emotional liberation. Imagine physically handing over all the anger, resentment, and bitterness to God. This conscious act can be incredibly freeing.
4. Pray for Those Who Hurt You: This can be a tough step, but praying for those who hurt you is a powerful act of forgiveness. This is not about them, but about us, shifting our focus from the pain caused to us to the welfare of the other person. It may not change them, but it will certainly change you.
5. Embrace God's Forgiveness: God's forgiveness is a gift of grace—it is not something we earn or deserve. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us that it's by grace we have been saved through faith, and not by our works. Remember that you, too, are forgiven. Embrace God's forgiveness and extend that same grace to others.
6. Practice Daily Forgiveness: Forgiveness isn't a one-time event. Make it a daily practice. Just as God forgives us every day, we must also make daily forgiveness a part of our lives. Don't be discouraged if you struggle with it; you're not alone. Continue to seek God's strength, and remember His command to forgive as you have been forgiven.
This is just a glimpse into the profound power of forgiveness and the role it plays in our emotional and spiritual well-being. The process of forgiveness can be a tough one, but the freedom and peace that it brings are immeasurable. You don't have to walk this journey alone. To learn more about letting go of past hurts, join our Healing H.E.A.R.T.S. Private Podcast Community where we delve deeper into these topics and many more.
~ Lady Jewels
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