Seven Gifts of Forgiveness

Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Forgiveness, Relationships | 0 comments

Seven Gifts of Forgiveness

More than 2000 years ago, God provided us with the greatest tool of power ever given to humanity—forgiveness. The sacrificial blood of Christ was given in payment for all our transgressions. It alone has the power to set us free from the debilitating guilt, resentment, anger, and hatred hindering our lives. Forgiveness opens the door to the kingdom of God and brings many blessings.

1. Frees us from guilt

Forgiving people who unjustly wrong us enables us to find freedom from our failures, mistakes, and transgressions. Jesus said we will be forgiven if we forgive those people who sinned against us.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, Your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

Sociologist, O. Hobart Mowrer found that “the thing that most seriously damages our capacity to love and to be lovable is not neglect or rejection by others, but unacknowledged and un-atoned personal guilt.” Guilt manipulates us, influencing our choices and motivations in our heart; it even closes us off from intimate relationships with people around us.

◊ I cannot forgive me

My husband had a problem forgiving himself about how he’d failed our son who needed his help with fixing a mini-bike. He writes: Compulsively working in my garden, I didn’t respond to his need for help. I often thought, “I will never forgive myself for this.” As Judith and I talked about this, I came to realize that my unwillingness to forgive myself would negatively impact my relationship with my son. Whenever I’d try to relate to him, I would look at him through my eyes of guilt. Thus the flow of love from my own heart was impeded. I finally did the hard work of forgiving myself and my tormenting guilt was gone.

◊ Destructive power of false guilt

We were praying with a woman in Germany about a trauma involving the death of her father in WWII. As the Lord brought His healing truths into her memory, she cried out, “I don’t have to be manipulated by guilt any longer!” Incredible, the father of lies had told her she was responsible for her father’s death. This false guilt had affected her entire life—even though she’d been only two years old when he died!

2. Believe prayers will be answered

Forgiving others is a necessary condition to receiving answers to our prayers. Jesus tells us we can receive the things we pray for—if we believe. Then He says whenever we stand praying we are to forgive anyone we have something against. Why does He connect faith and forgiveness? Is it because unforgiveness in our heart hinders our ability to believe God when we pray?

Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses … ” (Mark 11:23-26).

3. Promotes sense of well-being

Forgiveness promotes our sense of well-being. Research has shown that forgiving others decreases anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, inner emptiness, and hopelessness. The people who forgive others feel better about their lives than those who don’t. Through forgiveness, we can increase our sense of well-being, and we don’t have to buy a prescription or pay a doctor’s bill—it is all free!

4. Brings God’s grace

As the Holy Spirit leads, we must make peace in our heart with everyone who has failed us in some way, including our self. When we forgive the people who have wronged us, we are doing what Jesus told us to do. In releasing others from our judgment, we are opening ourselves to God’s healing grace.

St. Paul understood the grace of God. His mission was “to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24b). He wrote to the believers in Rome that “those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17b). Because of grace, we do not need to feel like victims in life.

5. Keeps us from hurting those we love

When we do not go to God and receive His grace for the wrongs done against us, the unforgiveness turns inward, becomes deep-seated, and a bitterness becomes rooted in our hearts:

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many have been defiled (Hebrews 12:15).

The words of a bitter person may sound reproachful when speaking. Interestingly, reproach can break the heart of a child (Psalms 69:20). The Bible instructs fathers to be gentle with their children―not harsh. Why? It’s because young children are very susceptible to the sound of words. Their whole way of being is to take in, to receive from others. If the voice of the parent is kind, gentle, and peaceful, then the child’s inner core will be filled with the knowledge that s/he is safe and loved. However, if their words carry a reproachful tone, this will penetrate to the psychological center of the child and break its heart.

6. Empowers us to be free from destructive relationships

Forgiveness enables us to receive God’s grace and break free from ungodly relationships or soul ties. Ungodly soul ties are created when a person seeks to dominate, manipulate, or control another, perhaps through violence, fear or abuse. These destructive relationships create avenues for sinful energies to be released and trouble the person who is being dominated, manipulated or controlled. Forgiveness is the powerful key that enables God’s healing grace to flow.

7.  Frees us from the enemy

In choosing to forgive others, we are the ones who will gain the most. When we forgive an offender, we are freed from the power of the enemy in that area of our lives. Unless offenders humble themselves, take responsibility for their unjust behavior, repent, and turn to the Lord, nothing will have changed for them. They are still the same person.

8. Releases us from the past

Our feelings of resentment, anger, and desire for revenge are destructive emotions that do us great harm, actually holding us in bondage to the past. These feelings will continue to rob us of our God-given creative energy that enables us to live life more creatively and fully. Until we forgive our offenders, our energy will be tied up with them. We will be held in bondage to them.

9. Opens our heart to God’s presence

Unforgiveness causes our hearts to harden and turn to stone, making it difficult to experience God’s life within us.  St. Paul tells us to “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind…excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18).

Forgiving ourselves and others opens our heart, enabling us know God’s presence and allow His blessings of love and peace to flow between us and others. It allows us to keep our hearts open and flowing with warmth and affection to the people we care about.

 

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