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The Strength in Forgiveness

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DEAR YOUNGER ME,
There is so much I wish I could tell you. Stuff that you need to know, but I also know that a lot of those things you need to figure out on your own. So, because I should only focus on one thing, I want to talk to you about forgiveness. Why forgiveness? Because the sooner you come to grasp with the fact that you can forgive yourself, and forgive others, and that you are already forgiven, the easier life will be.

I want to start off talking about forgiving yourself, because I think that this is vital to receiving and giving forgiveness. I can still remember every situation that led to self-hate. I hated who I became because of those incidents and lies. I believed what others said about me, I believed that because people treated me like trash that I was trash. I believed that I wasn’t forgivable because of what I did or didn’t do. How can I forgive myself when I didn’t feel like I was worth anyone’s time, let alone love and forgiveness? I came to realize that God loves me, in spite of what I had done and what I believed about myself. He loved me and wanted to relieve me of my emotional baggage.

I finally agreed to surrender it to Him. The process of setting your baggage down and forgiving yourself is hard. I went to someone who could help me. I sought out a counselor.

Through counseling I am starting to learn how to identify the lies that Satan throws at me and combat them with scripture.

God loves me so much that His heart breaks when I believe those lies that Satan tells me. My life verse has become Isaiah 43:4 — “For you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I LOVE YOU.” That is only part of the verse but it is changing my perspective of myself.

But how can I forgive others who I may believe don’t deserve forgiveness? I remember witnessing an adult smacking a family member (the person was under 8 years old) of mine. I was young and scared. I carried that baggage for over 12 years. I remember finally talking about it and someone looked me in the eyes and said “It was not your fault.” I don’t know what you have gone through or what you are going through, but what I do know is that there is a lot of stuff that happens… stuff we don’t ever address… and we should. I want you to know a few things. You are NOT alone, it is NOT your fault, and God still loves you. Because I carried that burden for over 12 years, it messed me up quite a bit. I asked God to forgive him finally. It was hard to surrender that hate for him. But I know that God will not let it go unpunished. Besides, when we try to decide who gets forgiveness and who does not get forgiveness, we tell God that we don’t trust Him to make the right choice.

But I understand the fear of forgiving people. I used to believe that if I forgave him, he would somehow not be held accountable for what he did. I believed that God would let him get away with it. Slowly as I learned more about God, I realized that those beliefs were false. Every person will be held accountable for what they have done. Only God can deliver the judgement and vengeance on that person. When I surrendered and forgave that guy, I told God that He had to deal with him, because I was not created to deliver or announce judgement on him.

Another messed up but understandable fear I had was that God would forgive him if he asked. I didn’t want him to be let off the hook. God spoke to me through different sermons and classes. Sin is sin, in His eyes. My sin of gossiping was just as bad as the witnessed abuse. Once I began to realize that, I fell to my knees.

In God’s eyes my sin was just as bad as the guy I hated for 12 years. How could God forgive someone like me?

God’s forgiveness is hard to grasp. I want to believe that their is a catch, like yes, I am forgiven by God but… With God there are no buts. God forgives, and the only thing He expects is for us to live in relationship with Him. It is as simple as that, yet in our minds the devil likes to twist it into this unattainable task. If God had not sent Jesus to pay the price for us, we would never be able to live a holy life. We would never be able to earn our forgiveness. But through God sending Jesus (John 3:16-17) we simply have to humble ourselves and accept the gift of forgiveness.

Oh my dear, I wish I could send you on the path to healing by writing this. I wish I could force it upon you but I can’t, and I wouldn’t. But know that God is right there for you, even through the hard times (Isaiah 43:1-4). Let me pray for you before you go!

Dear Abba,

Abba, you know all about us. You know everything that has happened and everything that will happen to us. Nothing takes You by surprise. Your heart breaks when ours does. When someone hurts us, You are hurt as well. Oh Father, come in and administer healing. Everyday I am in need of You and of Your healing grace. Come and pick up the pieces of my broken heart and create something new and beautiful in me.

Abba, I pray for the sweet soul reading this, help them to remember…

That they aren’t alone. They aren’t forgotten. That what happened to them is NOT their fault. There is forgiveness waiting for them at the cross. Father, step into their life and let them feel Your awesome presence.Wrap them in Your loving embrace.

Amen

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Thank you to an anonymous Guest Writer for writing this article. We appreciate her willingness to share.

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