Forgiveness...Why So hard?

Forgiveness...a hard word for many people. Why is that? Why is it so very hard to forgive?

For some, I think the problem lies in the fact that they are afraid to admit that there is a deep hurt that needs to be forgiven. They like to think that if they just get on with life the wounded-ness will go away.  So instead of saying, "yes, I forgive you", they just say, "oh...don't even worry about it"...or "it was nothing, really".  Sometimes they don't even want to admit to others that they have been wounded. They may look at it as being too confrontational and they avoid confrontation at all costs.  The problem with this approach to life is that the wounds don't just go away on their own...they lie beneath the surface...waiting to fester at the next offense that flows from the direction of their offender.

And then there's this...

Some things seem just...well...unforgivable. Spousal abuse and child abuse(physical or sexual), extra-marital affairs and murder. These are just some the offenses that fall into that category.  We want to see people held accountable for their actions. Frankly, we want to see them suffer the consequences of their actions.   When we have been hurt and wounded deeply, we(in our human condition) want to see the guilty pay...and pay dearly.  

And I believe this is where the word 'forgive' gets all muddled in the translation.

We think that if we forgive someone for their unforgivable actions that we are condoning those actions. We feel that would mean we are excusing them...even giving them license to continue hurting either ourselves or others. We think, " How can we forgive and let them go...scott free! How can we allow them to continue hurting ourselves and others by their selfish and sometimes even heinous acts?"  

The truth is, forgiveness does not give people permission to go on go on hurting. It does not make the wrong that has been committed against you,'okay'. Forgiveness does not forbid us to put boundaries in place to prevent the offender from taking advantage of us or wounding us again.   IT DOES NOT!   See...that's where we get it all confused.

When you refuse to forgive you are giving the person who hurt you permission to hurt you all over your mind, your memory. Every. single. time. you dredge up the offense you are allowing yourself to be hurt all over again. Bitterness becomes embedded into your heart and soul and becomes a heavy burden.

In Matthew Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Jesus then follows with these words: "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."  Whoa...those are strong words.  There are passages in scripture that may, at first, make it seem as if forgiveness is conditional.  "If they ask...only then will I forgive". However, when I look at all of God's Word in light of the concept of forgiveness I see simply that we are called to forgive. Period.

You see...when we forgive we are not letting the person get away with anything. We are not setting the offender free! It's okay to hold someone accountable that you have already forgiven. It is even okay, to set boundaries so that you cannot be wounded by that person in the same way again. However, it is NOT okay to hang onto the anger, bitterness and hurt for the rest of your life.

The Greek word for 'forgive' in the New Testament is aphiemi and appears there 146 times.  It is actually translated 'forgive' only 47 of those times. It can also mean to suffer, to forsake, to let alone, and more. But more frequently it is translated 'leave'.   Forgiveness is to send the offense and our anger and bitterness away.

When we forgive we are setting ourselves free from the unfair pain that was caused by someone else.  We are letting go of the offense so that we can move on, without the baggage; the weight of wounded-ness on our hearts and souls. We are free to allow the Lord to heal the hurt and pain...the open wound can now close. Leaving behind only the scar in its place. The scar is simply an indication that healing has taken place. Forgiveness restores our own soul and gives us hope for a better future.

I am called to forgive as in Christ God has forgiven me. I don't deserve to be forgiven. Nothing I have done deserves the love and grace that God pours out on me. I am so very thankful that I serve a Savior who is so loving and forgiving. God requires justice for my sins, yes! But Jesus paid the penalty for me, and for you when He took our place on the cross of Calvary. He paid the price! Oh, how thankful I am that He did!!

Because of His great love, I walk forward...forgiven.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

I am linking up with Jo Ann and the other beautiful women on Wednesdays to talk about forgiveness.  Not to rehash the past...or commiserate over our wounded-ness but with freedom and joy and purpose to share our hearts and allow God to use us...our make a difference, to help women find hope and healing.

Write! That's All He Said...Five Minute Friday

Oh how I have missed my Five Minute Friday's. I've been traveling and busy working on two different book launch teams and have neglected this activity that has become a discipline...the catalyst to get my fingers to the keyboard and spill words out onto the page from the depths of my heart. All based on one word...just one word from Lisa-Jo and hundreds of bloggers all over the country and beyond get their creative thinking caps on and type for five minutes(or is usually the case with me), whatever comes to mind based on that one word.

I've been so overwhelmingly busy with...well...LIFE, that I thought I might not do another FMF post until late October or maybe even November. Then I happened onto Lisa-Jo's post for today, and the word prompt was WRITE.  This word has a very special meaning to me so I could not ignore it this week and WRITE I must!

So here goes...
As I have shared in a previous post, God gave me a word in 2008. Yes...I heard one, single, solitary word. Over and over and as close to being a real hear-it-out-loud voice as I have ever heard. I knew that this was God's voice telling me to write. I just had no idea what it was He wanted me to write. Here is the entry in my journal around the time I was hearing this from God...
February 3, 2008
Write. Write…Write! This one word has been playing over and over to me for weeks now, maybe even months. Almost audibly. I hear the word. I believe god is telling me to write. I have shared this with Rod, Lyndsay, and my ladies bible study. Now I feel accountable, but I still don't know WHAT I am supposed to write. 

 And here is a little of what was going on in my mind at this time

Ok God...I get it! I'm supposed to write, but could you clue me in on exactly what I'm supposed to write about.? Oh yeah...and I'm not exactly a writer ...sooooo, I'm gonna need a little help here. I'm scared. What if I write the wrong thing or worse yet, what if it stinks?  What if I write something and nobody reads it? Or they read it and hate it?  Is this supposed to be a book or a project?  My testimony? I'm not ready to share all of my life with the world.  Our son Brad had just experienced his second traumatic brain incident and we were in the process of going with him through all of the speech, occupational and physical therapies. Was I supposed to write about that?  It was all still too real and raw to share with the world at large. No...not that...not yet.  

So...I began to journal, somewhat sporadically. I figured if God wanted me to write I needed to walk in obedience to His voice and write...something...anything, until He gave me something a little more concrete with which to work. Then in October of that year I began this blog. It was a very slow process as I had no idea what I was doing. I am a sporadic blogger...not good in the blogging world.  You don't build a better blog unless you 

God has brought me a long way from that day in February of 2008. Sometimes God gives us a 'word' or a vision but it might be years before it is ready to be set into see it come to fruition.(Click to tweet)  Look how long it took Joseph to step into his calling! You can read about all he had to go through to be ready to be the instrument God used to save his nation and the lives of his own brothers who had left him for dead so many years before (1 Samuel 17:51). 

God uses all those things in our lives...the good, the bad and the ugly to work out His good and perfect will in our lives when we are walking in the path He has set before us. Even when we have no idea where that path might lead or even what it will look like.  When He says go...go. When He says! When He says WRITE...I'm going to write!

Since hearing that word from God...WRITE...I have had the privilege of being a contributing writer in two books. The first one you can find on my sidebar...Bloom Where You're Planted by Anne Milam. The second book's working title is, God Must Think I'm Superwoman: The High Calling of Parenting Your Child with Special Needs, Westbow Publishing. That book is at the editor's as I write this...and the chapter that I wrote for that book is what I believe God called me to write so many years ago.  I believe that, because the enemy has been working hard to deter the process of it's publishing. 

 I continue to write because I believe God has called me to this thing. I will probably never be  a well known writer but I'm okay with that because I believe God will use the words that He has given me to further the work of His kingdom here on earth. I believe He has and will continue to use me to encourage, enlighten and engage my readers in seeing every part of the culture and world in which we live through the lens and filter of God's Word. And that is enough for me! 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. 
                                                                                       Romans 8:28

Now it's your turn...

1. Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...