By: Linda Merriott
Recently, I was extremely hurt by several people I consider dear. I have always been able to forgive fairly easily, but this time I did not seem able to forgive truly. This went on for several weeks. I would pray and ask God to help me, getting up every morning to speak my forgiveness aloud. I would call them by name and pray a blessing over them. Still, I found myself ruminating over what they had said and done, which upset me all over again. I asked the Lord why I was having so much trouble with this. Why couldn’t I just get over it and move on? After all, when Jesus was totally without blame, He said, “Father, forgive them.” I knew that forgiveness is God’s provision for releasing us from the power and pain of sins committed against us to receive God’s healing. However, I had difficulty appropriating that healing because I could not let it go. We all occasionally deal with hurts and unforgiveness, but this one seemed to drag on, and I was sick of it. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and pouring toxins into our system. I started to press into God’s word and attend a new class that was called Freedom Ministry. One of their core teachings is about unforgiveness. I especially paid attention, asking God to show me new things in my misery. I realized that Satan’s strategy is to damage God’s character and keep us in bondage to the pain of what happened. With God’s power, I determined to see my heart change. I asked God to show me the good things that came out of that event, and I began to see He was in it! He was there with me through it. Through prayer and His word, I began to see that forgiveness is not denying that what happened was hurtful. Or repressing the feelings and hoping they would go away. Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. Instead, it is God’s plan to bring healing and restoration into our lives! Forgiveness is a choice, and although excruciating to get there, the outcome is worth the journey. We all know people with bitterness and unforgiveness, and it is hard to be around them. I did not want to be one of them. So, I must, of my free will, choose to forgive. Although the offense pained me, I took responsibility for my response and decided to obey God and agree with His purpose. As I released the pain’s weightful memory by expressing it to God, I also gave Him the bitterness and despair. Allowing my mind to replay the details only clung to the pain. I must lay out the event one final time, then leave it at the foot of the cross. In return, God gave me healing and hope. I began recognizing that my reputation, calling, and anointing are all from Him! It is not my place to protect myself. He is my source and protection. I crawled back into His arms and realized that He was doing a new thing in me! When feelings come back and try to take me back to being miserable, I remind myself that God has finished the work and is doing new things that will bring me great joy. I also pray blessings upon those who hurt me. Journeying through life with God brings joy and peace, and I am so thankful! I don’t know how people do life without Him. Isaiah 61:3 says, To those who have sorrow in Zion, I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope. Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored. A prayer of forgiveness: Lord Jesus, I am sorry that I have held unforgiveness in my heart. I realize that the price you paid was not only for my forgiveness but also for the forgiveness of those who hurt me. It is not my right to judge them. Please fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit so that my hardened heart might become soft. Heal my brokenness and pain and replace it with Your power, presence, and peace. I speak forgiveness and blessing over_____________________. Lord, help me to walk this out in your strength. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!