Forgiveness is not ours to give. It is ours to offer up to the Father for forgiveness lies in his hands.
As Jesus died on the cross, he said, FATHER, forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). He said this while he was being persecuted. Not after, but during his crucifixion for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Talk about being wronged. He didn’t say, I, forgive them. He said Father forgive them. If Jesus turns to his Father to forgive someone for doing wrong to him, where does that leave me?
As I thoroughly digested this concept, I realized what it means to surrender all my sorrows and my grudges to God. Jesus, the son of God, our intercessor/mediator, knew that it was not his role to forgive, but rather to ask the Father to forgive them. It is God’s role to judge and carry out a punishment, not ours. It is God’s role to remember our transgressions. It is God’s role to be our parent and watch over us. He forgives our sins AND those who sin against us.
When I grasped this concept, I felt so incredibly liberated! I could stop holding back forgiveness because it wasn’t mine to give! Surrendering all my iniquities to the Lord and letting him deal with them took away that responsibility for me to carry out justice. It is not my role to judge, condemn, or carry out the punishment. Romans 12:19 says 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.
It is completely natural that when a wrong has been done, we want someone to pay for what they have done. God wants to first have the opportunity to capture their heart so they will not sin again. Ultimately, wouldn’t that be wonderful if anyone who has caused you pain had a change in heart? Wouldn’t it be great if your oppressor came to you and said, “I am so very sorry”? They aren’t going to do that without God’s intervention. God can do great things, but we must hand over the controls to him and trust that he will do his works.
Psalm 103:8-10 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse nor will he harbor his anger forever. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
So if God doesn’t accuse or hold grudges (Isaiah 43:25- I, even, I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake and remembers your sins no more) or even get angry easily, wouldn’t the same standards apply to me? 1st Thessalonians 5:15 emphasizes this saying “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
I strive to be like my Heavenly Father. His words are my lamplight to Heaven here on earth. Therefore, if he is slow to anger, abounding in love, forgets my sins, and He says that vengeance is not mine to serve, then I really have no choice. I must surrender the sins against me to the Lord.
Remember that forgiveness doesn’t let the other person off the hook, it actually places them in God’s hands. (Forgiving what you can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst pg 111). What a beautiful thought that God has the opportunity to touch their heart as he has ours.
May we pray that all the oppressors in this world someday open their hearts to the greatest love of all from our heavenly Father.
1st Peter 3:10-11
Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
Voyage to HEAL Weekly Task
Stretch: I discovered a wonderful stretch for the inner and outer sides of the calf and shin. Sit up tall with your legs out straight. Use a wall, chair, or backboard to lean against. Now, cross your feet so the toes of one foot are touching the bottom of the other foot. Gently, use the toes on the bottom to stretch the other foot toward the knee. To enhance this stretch, bend at the waist and lean slightly forward.
Exercise: In standing, activate the pelvic floor and core muscles (if you need a refresher on how to do this, visit weeks 2 and 3 of the Voyage to HEAL or you can purchase the 12-week Pelvic Floor and Core Activation Series on the website). Once those core muscles are turned on, raise the arms overhead and rise up on your toes. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly come down. Repeat this 6 times. Remember to breathe as you complete this exercise.
Habitual Change: Do you sit in a chair with your legs out straight and feet crossed? I have found that this can cause a lot of agitation in the heels. If you are having heel pain, eliminate this habit and see if your symptoms decrease.
Perspective enlightenment: God, let me relinquish the sins of others to you and live my life open to love.
Journaling option: Write out all the things you would like to ask God to forgive both for you and what others have done. Pray for each of those people that God may touch their hearts.
This week’s blog post coincides with weeks 5 and 6: Forgiveness of Yourself and Others. You can purchase this week in the store on the webpage. You can also purchase the Inner Peace Meditation CD or start your full online Voyage to HEAL. Click here to visit the store. Most importantly, start being kind to yourself always. As God gives you grace, so should you give it to yourself. Stop fighting yourself. Instead, love yourself.
Godspeed on your Voyage to HEAL