Forgiveness sets YOU free
I have a friend, we'll call her Sasha, who spent years being angry and bitter toward her friend Tamara for a betrayal that caused some serious emotional and spiritual damage to her heart as well as her daughter's heart. The two moms had been friends for years and their daughters were best friends. But one day, their girls had been caught smoking pot and each mom had very different approaches to handling how to discipline their respective daughters. Sasha was very upset and concerned for her daughter, and they had some serious discussions about the poor choice the girls had made as well as the possible real world consequences that choice could lead to in the future. Tamara's approach was to ground her daughter and cut off all contact with Sasha's daughter for the foreseeable future. At first, Sasha understood Tamara's reaction because she was trying to ensure that her daughter didn't continue down a path that led to destruction, but she figured soon the mothers would talk, establish some ground rules for the girls and move forward. However, a month, then two and then 6 months went by without a word between the daughters. Sasha and her daughter were flabbergasted that after all this time, not even a text, a conversation or a meetup between them had occurred. After several failed attempts to create an opportunity to meet up, the four of them met for breakfast to hash it out. It was an awkward and tense meeting between all of them. Each pair went to their own booth to talk. But after an hour of talking, it became clear to Sasha, that the relationships were over. Sasha's daughter was inconsolable. It just didn't make sense. It was apparent during both conversations that Tamara and her daughter wanted nothing more to do with Sasha and her daughter. They were both confused, hurt, and sad. But soon, the hurt grew to anger and eventually to bitterness and resentment.
This is how it is with unforgiveness. When we let the devil get a foothold, he keeps our minds in chains. Our minds can become a tape recorder that keeps replaying those same thoughts of anger, bitterness and resentment about the other person and it keeps us separated from God. But God sent his son Jesus to be a chain breaker! He broke the chains of unforgiveness when he died to set us all free. When we refuse to forgive others, it is like if God were to keep an account of all our sins and hold us accountable forever. Instead, he chooses to "never again remember our sins” (Hebrews 8:12). God allowed his son to die on the cross to pay the debt for all our transgressions, once and for all. When we decide to forgive someone, it is not only setting them free from a debt they owe to us, but it is setting us both free from holding onto the hurt and anger. When we forgive someone who has hurt us, we choose not to replay the hurt and anger over and over, and this frees us up to focus on the many blessings we have instead. The enemy wants us to stay trapped in a cycle of anger and unforgiveness because that keeps our minds off of God. The way that we win that battle is to choose to stop "pushing play" on the tape recorder and remind ourselves of how God continually forgives us for our sins, therefore we should forgive others the same way.
So, I'm sure you are wondering whether Sasha and Tamara ever reconciled their relationship or their daughters'. The truth is, they didn't. However, Sasha and her daughter decided to forgive the pain that caused and now they believe that the ending of those relationships actually led them to become who they are today. They accepted the biblical truth that the plan God has for their lives is better than they could even think or imagine, so they trusted that it was ultimately for the best. Sasha says, "I'm glad that we didn't let the enemy win. We forgave and we
believe that what the enemy intended for harm, ultimately God brought the good out of it."
Do you have someone that you need to forgive? Do you need forgiveness from someone else? Take the first step. Pray: God, I know I am a sinner and I receive your forgiveness every single time. I am asking that you help me to forgive myself for any wrongdoing and I need your Holy Spirit to teach me how to forgive others who have hurt me. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, so even if they don't deserve mine, I want to forgive them just like you do. I pray that you can set us both free from the chains of unforgiveness, in Jesus' holy name! Amen.