“Forgiving Others … “
Start With Prayer:
Dear God, please help me to hear you, and understand your message for me.
Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians to Gentile (non-Jewish) believers in Ephesus. Unlike some of his others letters, his purpose in writing was not to correct an issue going on within their church. Paul writes simply to explain how God reconciled all believers to Himself, AND, to one another, as members of ONE Body. He encourages them to draw on the resources that we are given as believers (the Holy Spirit in our hearts) that enables us to live in a loving and mature way with each other.
“31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
What’s the point?:
Earlier this week, we talked about how our sin causes us to feel, well, yucky. When we think back on things we’ve done in the heat of a moment, we’re filled with guilt, and no one enjoys that.
Another yucky feeling we all hate to experience, is bitterness. We become bitter and angry when others have hurt us, and when you think about it … being angry at someone does not feel good. It straight up stinks in fact.
Paul is writing to teach us that, if we want to get rid of those feelings of bitterness, rage, and anger … we’ve got to forgive.
Forgiving someone who has hurt you is tough, and depending on the severity of their wrong-doing, well it might feel impossible.
The thing is, we need to remember that some of the things that WE do, or have done, should be downright impossible for God to forgive … but … He does it anyway. He always forgives us fully, completely, and without any hesitation.
As such, we’re called to extend a portion of this forgiveness to others in our lives.
The reason is really two fold.
As I highlighted a second ago, the feelings of anger and hatred towards someone, they don’t feel good. No one enjoys being bitter or angry. So, we’re instructed here to forgive others … so that … we don’t have to feel that “yucky,” anymore.
We benefit from forgiving others, sometimes, in BIGGER ways than the person we’re forgiving.
And, if you’ve ever received forgiveness from someone else, you know how freeing and wonderful that can be, so the other part of Paul’s instructions, are for the benefit of the person we are forgiving.
What does all of this mean to me/how can I apply that to my life today?
Here again, I’d love to sit with you over coffee or wine, and just hear your story. Unfortunately, many of us carry around hurt from our past that most people don’t know about.
You’ve lugged years of abuse and secrets around with you your whole life, which has worn you down to the point that even the thought of forgiving these horrific acts, seems impossible.
There are no words, no “one size fits all” model, for coaching people through forgiveness.
Each life, each experience and story, they need their own personal form of healing and forgiveness.
What I am simply encouraging you to do, is to start small. Start with being open to forgiving small offenses. Forgive the friend who forgot to text you back, the person who cuts you off in traffic, or the waitress who was rude.
Then, once you’re comfortable, I encourage you to seek help in finding ways to forgive the bigger offenders in your life. Some people may benefit from sitting down with a therapist to help them. (I sure have in my past!) Others may need to even forgive someone who is no longer with us. (Again, I’ve been here too).
Just know that there is unbelievable freedom and peace found in true forgiveness.
And, that you are not alone! I am here to help you navigate the tricky and difficult turns of forgiveness and help you discover it’s freedom for yourself, in a way that’s comfortable for you.
Sending virtual hugs to you, my sweet friend.