Why should I have to be the one who forgives when I'm the one who has already suffered the most? We know God commands us to forgive. But how, when the hurt plays over and over in our mind? And why, when we have already suffered so much? And, are there exceptions, such as when the other person keeps inflicting pain? Lysa TerKeurst has walked this journey, discovering after more than 1,000 hours of theological study the practical ways to let go of our bound-up resentment and finally heal. Lysa says about these sessions, “If you were to ask me, of all the Bible lessons I’ve taught, which are my favorites? These would be it.”
Forgiveness is not made possible by our determination, but by our cooperation with what God has already done for us. When we refuse to let God’s forgiveness flow through us to other people, it becomes a heavy weight that can cause anxiety, fear, depression. Forgiveness isn’t dependent on another person making this right. It’s between me and God.
The best time to forgive is before we're ever offended. What our minds are focused on and what our mouths speak reveal who we are mastered by. Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. Forgiveness should be one of the first steps in our healing process, not the last.
We can't change what we have experienced, but we can choose how the experiences change us. Just because we think something is true doesn't make it true. Our skewed perceptions can lead to our inability to completely heal from past hurts. We need God's help to change the way we think about ourselves and see others.
With God, there's always a meanwhile. In other words, there's a physical reality we see in front of us, but meanwhile, there's also a spiritual reality of what our good God is always doing. Even if we don't know how everything's going to turn out, we can know that the goodness of God will sustain us. And, forgiveness is the perfect start to our healing...it shouldn't be our last resort.
It's hard to be fruitful while we're holding onto what's hurtful. Unforgiveness will have a compounding effect in our life and in the lives of those we interact with...far beyond what we even know. Releasing our right to be offended is an act of trust in God.
We forgive people from the overflow of what we really believe to be true about Christ. Do we see people as Christ sees them? Do we see ourselves as fellow-humans in need of Christ too? Do we believe Christ can redeem the situation, even if we are wronged? We can't control what people do to us. But we can control how we react to these situations.