“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18: 21 &22 (NIV)
So! I just finished reading a book my mentor gave me called “Forgiving Foward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution” by Bruce and Toni Hebel. If you like to read, then I encourage you to get the book. It’s such a blessing. However, if you don’t like to read or “don’t have time,” then download his FREE Forgiving Forward podcast on iTunes.
In the book, Bruce and Toni discuss forgiveness and give steps called “The 7 Protocols of Forgiveness” on how to forgive and live a blessed life of freedom. Here are two of my favorite points in the book:
“Forgiveness is a decision, not a process.” Forgiveness is a one and done decision. Once, we make the decision to forgive, it’s done. If you find yourself, still bitter or questioning if you’ve forgiven someone or yourself, then you most likely haven’t. Forgiveness is a heart thing, not a mind thing. It doesn’t occur because you wake up one day and say “I forgive _____.” You make the decision to forgive, and you make that decision with your heart resulting in a different outcome. An outcome of pure forgiveness allows you to move on and not be tormented by whatever pain you’ve experienced.
And let me just add that once you forgive someone, the Enemy will most likely try to remind you about what that person did or what you did. But, you’ll have to fight back and say, “Nope, I’ve already forgiven ______ for ______.” I promise the Enemy will lose every time. The Bible says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The Devil doesn’t want us to live joyful and free. He wants us to live guilty, shameful, angry, and shackled. But that’s not God’s plan for us. God has forgiven us for all of our sins, and He wants us to do the same when it comes to others or ourselves, especially if we want Him to continue to forgive us. (Matthew 6:14)
“Forgiveness does not devalue the wound or the damage caused. On the contrary, forgiveness acknowledges the pain and the hurt but simply chooses not to hold it against the offender.” Remember when you were 5 years old and your friend would say “I’m sorry.” and you’d easily say “It’s okay.”? Well, forgiving someone now is the same as forgiving your friend years ago. Except, now the offense is probably much bigger than your friend playing with your toy without asking. It can be really hard to completely let go of the pain caused because we feel that forgiveness excuses what was done. But, in some ways it does. You forgiving someone is not saying that what they did was okay, but it excuses that person or yourself from whatever hurt was caused because of an action. You’re saying, “What you did was not okay, but I can’t let what you did (or didn’t do) rob me from the peace and happiness I should have.”
Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself, not the other person. We shouldn’t forgive someone with the mindset that we’re doing them a favor. Because in all honesty, sometimes whoever hurt us might not even care or know that they did. So when we make the decision to forgive, it’s for us. We should forgive others whether they know they hurt us or not, whether they apologize to us or don’t.
forgive (verb) : to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone) :to grant relief from payment of
Forgiveness is tough, whether it’s forgiving someone else or forgiving yourself. Often times we get so bent out of shape about a wrong that someone has done towards us, or a mistake we’ve made. If we don’t watch it, that hurt can become anger, and we can become bitter or shameful. On several occasions, I’ve allowed my hurt to take over. As a result, I would have a terrible attitude and “dog” people out left and right. But God quickly checked me and said, “Mika, I can’t bless you if you’re still mad.” So I straightened up quick because I want my blessings! And on top of that, I can’t allow how others treat me or my own former actions control me or prevent me from living a great life. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. When you forgive others or yourself, you are getting rid of that constant torment. Those “chains” of stress, guilt, drama, and pain automatically drop from your wrists and ankles, and you are free!.. Freedom is the result of forgiveness.
*I know people always say: Time heals all wounds, but that’s really not the case. Forgiveness heals all wounds, not time. Time only reveals the truth.*
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3: 12& 13 (NLT)
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:17-21 (NLT)