We are not robots. Emotions, behavior, long-term memory are supported by the same limbic system in the brain. The limbic system can take a current situation and pull up a similar memory which occurred years ago and apply vividly the same emotions felt at that time. You may have remembered in high definition being on the “butt” end of jokes, ridiculed, or abused. Relationships can take you back to the devastating moments of abandonment. Someone may have raped or beaten you. Many of us have experienced deep harsh soul wounds to this day triggers remembrances that might still seem impenetrable. To all of you. I want to offer a warm, tender “I am so, so sorry. How can I help you?”
When Jesus commanded us to “forgive others as He forgave us” (Matthew 6:12 and Colossian 3:13), that’s a tough assignment. There are people who flat out don’t deserve your forgiveness if you have the mind-set of natural man without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. However, the One who is asking you to forgive an undeserved person is the man-God, Christ, who had his hands and feet nailed to a cross, skull crushed, body flogged and beaten by Roman soldiers, religious people who hated Him, a sword jabbed deep into His torso before dying on an old rugged cross to bear your individual sin when it was unmerited. As His children, we must never forget that He forgave our sin past, present, and future and reconciled us to a God full of grace and mercy! He definitely has the authority to command you and me to forgive “others” as He forgave us. He not only modeled forgiveness; furthermore, He empowered us to have His compassion to do it.
Forgiving others is the healthiest thing that you can do for yourself. If you do not forgive, you will stay tethered to the darkness and sin of the person you are unwilling to pardon. Believe it or not, your unforgiveness empowers the one who hurts you. Often, your harsh feelings and hurts expressed bitterly towards the “other” makes them seem to be the victim not you. In order to untether yourself today, you need take them off your hook and place he/she on God’s hook. Forgiveness is between God and you, not between the sinner and you. God will handle him/her in a fair and equitable way. He will ensure that they pay a price in their own lives. Once you let go of the individual, you drop a huge weight off your shoulders and will be surprised by your growing composure and confidence. God empowers you! This will not go unnoticed.
Romans 12:19-21 could not be clearer about this, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” It becomes a healing cycle: You forgive the sinner no longer shackled, the sinner now has to deal with God who will repay them in a firm, justifiable manner. There is no longer a reason for hatred or fear.
Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. God will work with you and in you if it is a relationship that needs to be reconciled. Don’t try to work this out on your own. Philippians 2:12&13, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God will work with you and give you “straight, assured paths” (Proverbs 3:5&6).