I’ll bet your answer to that question is “yes.” If you’ve been alive longer than about a year, chances are good that you’ve been hurt in some way.
And while we could take a vote of everyone reading this letter and they might all raise their hands and say, “Yes! It’s terrible what happened to you!” that vote wouldn’t do you any good.
The only way I know of to get free of the hurt that’s been afflicted on you and go on to live a life of freedom is — forgiveness.
Think about it — forgiveness is how God’s relationship started with YOU (Col. 2:13). It’s so powerful that it made you a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).
It’s how He starts things over again..Feel like you need a do-over in your life? Forgive. It’s that powerful.
Be Free of the Chains
Colossians 3:12, 13 says, “As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved (that’s you), put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
So we know that forgiveness is powerful, that it’s been given to us through Jesus, and we have the capability to do it — regardless of what’s been committed against us.
See here’s the deal — if you don’t forgive, then what’s been done to you owns you. It defines how you live from now on. It could keep you from doing things, or affect the way you react. It chains you to the pain of your past. Why would you give that much power to someone who’s done you wrong?
The only way to be free of the chains that bind you to past hurts is to forgive.
What Forgiveness is Not
I think the reason that sometimes we don’t forgive is because we think that if we do, the person who hurt us will “get away with it.” But Galatians 6:7 says don’t be deceived, no one can fool God, “whatever a man sows, that will he reap.” Forgive, and let God take care of what happens to them.
We also may think that forgiveness means we agree with what they did. It doesn’t! Forgiveness means we choose to obey God (Matt. 6:14, 15) and open the door to our own freedom.
We can’t change anything about someone else (or what has happened), but we can choose to turn them over to God and walk forward in freedom in our own lives by forgiving.
We also may think “they don’t deserve to be forgiven.” The thing is, neither did you. Neither did I. Jesus forgave us our sins and died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Forgiveness has nothing to do with deserving. It has to do with freedom. God tells us to forgive because He wants us to be free from hurts of the past.
The person who hurt you may never say they’re sorry. They may never even acknowledge the fact that they hurt you. Our flesh wants them to! We want them to KNOW how much we’ve suffered from their hurt!
But that’s not freedom. Freedom is in breaking the bonds of those hurts — and we do that by letting it go, by forgiving.
Let it Go
Mark 11:25 says, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” (amp).
I love that image — let it drop. Just drop it! Don’t demand justice, or retribution, or even that your side be understood. Let God handle that — you can trust Him. You just obey His Word, and forgive.
Break the chains right now and drop it, let it go. Forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll find a breathtaking, liberating freedom waiting for you on the other side.
About Karen Jensen
Karen and her husband, Brent, traveled full time as itinerant ministers, and also pioneered two churches in the Northwest. In 1997, upon Brent’s unexpected death, she became Senior Pastor of their church in Boise, Idaho. She raised their sons, Josh and Ryan, through their teenage years into young adults on fire for God. She is now an instructor at RHEMA Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Her humor, her never-give-up attitude, her love for God and her strong stand on His Word lifts people up and inspires them to believe for victory in every area of their lives.
For more information on Karen Jensen visit her website: http://karenjensen.org/
Also check out her Parenting Blog: http://karenjensen.org/blog/
Devotional used with permission of Author