WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE?
Forgiveness is not optional, but it is a choice that we make.
Forgiveness releases healing into your life, it’s not about the person that has been forgiven it is about you. You are the reason you should forgive.
Forgiveness is a commandment from God himself:
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:9-15
There are people you will need to forgive whether you want to or not, I am a great believer in allowing myself to forgive how ever hard it is. It is not about letting the other person ‘off the hook’, its about releasing justice to work, it’s about letting go of the bitterness and anger towards the person that you are holding on to. Being able to forgive the person who has grieved you is a crucial part of your healing. Forgiveness, however, can be a problem for many people just because they do not have a clear view of what forgiveness is about and confuse it with reconciliation, yes of course in some instances forgiveness is a part of that journey, but not always.
Forgiving does not necessarily involve the exemption of the person from justice, we all have consequences to all our actions and in the case of sexual or physical abuse the perpetrator has to deal with those consequences. It is crucial that you remember in forgiving the person, you still may have to testify the truth in court, but with the realisation that it is out of your hands but in the hands of the court and ultimately God.
You should not to condone what the person has done to forgive them. In the bible (Luke 15:11-32) Jesus talks about the parable of the prodigal son. The father forgives his son for leaving and wasting all his money and he runs out to meet him, gave him a hug, ring and a robe, then threw a huge party to welcome the son back but the father then does not also seek to divide his estate between the two sons for a second time as if the younger son had not already received his fair share. This father’s forgiving, remembers the circumstances of the youngest sons leaving, but it also honours the eldest son and treats him fairly. The ultimate responsibility of the younger son was his and he had to live with his actions. People are responsible for their own behaviour. It does not necessarily include full restoration of trust broken by the perpetrator. But it’s releasing God’s power in you so that he can forgive you.
Forgiveness usually brings a peace in you and the freedom of not having the rest of your lives defined by the suffering that you have suffered during this time.
Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter.
When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future, but when you do forgive, you start walking forward towards your future. We will have to say I will not allow this offender to determine how I feel towards life. Once you can get into a position mentally where you can do this then you can let go of it.
We are very good at getting offended at the smallest of things, aren’t we? But there are some things that are so big that we wonder if we’ll ever be able to forgive and move on. But, choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive but there are consequences if you don’t and there are consequences if you do. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and bitterness will mean that the perpetrator will claim one more victim. But if you forgive, then the consequence is that you will be free, it will be like you were in chains and bound in your emotions but as you let go and forgive you will break the chains and be released.