I don’t claim to be a perfect parent by any means. However, there is one exercise that I introduced to my kids when they were little that I am happy that I started. You see, every time one of my kids hurt, annoyed, or did something to the other that warranted an apology, I would make them say they were sorry and ask the other, “Do you forgive me?” With that, the offended child would reply, “Yes, I forgive you.” And of course, a good, old-fashioned Landmon hug would follow. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no. These weren’t just words that I made my kids recite to one another out of duty. I wanted to teach them the practice of learning how to ask for forgiveness, while at the same time, freely extending it. At this early age, I wanted to stress the importance of this freeing truth so that later in life, when the offenses were a little more serious, they would be able to extend forgiveness without hesitation.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness is a big deal. In fact, the word forgiveness and similar derivatives are mentioned over 100 times in the Bible. Why? Because God knew how important this act is for the well being of His people. In fact, God not only suggests it, but commands us to do so.
Don’t be confused, forgiveness doesn’t condone or excuse the other person’s behavior. It simply releases the hurt that a person inflicts upon you and hands it over to God. When you hang on to bitterness and resentment, you prevent your spirit from sustaining the life God intended.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15
The reason we forgive is to protect our relationship with God. If we choose not to forgive others, Jesus will not forgive us our sins. Without the forgiveness of our sins, it creates eternal separation from God.
Ladies, I know many of you have been hurt far beyond the trivial dealings of sibling disputes, but the principle remains the same. Maybe you’ve been hurt by a friend, a relative, or even your spouse. You feel betrayed and wounded. Bitterness and anger have risen up inside of you.
You may be thinking it is impossible to forgive what has been done to you. I can assure you that God sees the heartache and the emotional scars in your lives, and yet He still requires you to forgive. But be encouraged. God will always equip you to do what He has commanded you to do if you rely on Him for strength.
Please forgive me for saying this, but it’s time to let go and let God handle it!