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Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend

Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply let something go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and free ourselves – a lesson I am continually learning to apply in my life.

Dan and I decided it was time to sell one of our old junky cars. A man who worked for the church where Dan pastored agreed to buy it. He and Dan worked out the terms – none of which the man kept. When Dan said he had decided to forgive the debt and just let the man have the car. I was not happy.

(If you missed my last devotion, take a few minutes to go back and read it.)

A few weeks later, the man quit his job at the church and went to work for a nearby grocery store – my grocery store. I soon learned that God has a sense of humor because almost every time I went to the store, the man was there. And every time I saw him, anger consumed my heart. I finally realized that this whole car situation was robbing my life of joy – until the day I joined my husband in his decision to give the man the car. It was the only thing I could do if I wanted peace.

I created a mental scene of driving to the grocery store, handing the car keys to the man and saying, “Merry Christmas! Enjoy your new car.” It wasn’t Christmas, and the car was far from new, but the plan worked. I forgave the debt in my heart and let it go.

The most amazing thing happened! I was the one set free. From that day on, every time I saw the man, I waved and smiled. He began avoiding me, unable to look me in the eyes.

God does have a sense of humor. A few weeks later, I saw the man driving a different car and learned from one of his co-workers that “his old car just up and died.” Enough said.

Forgiving the debt is a deliberate choice that is made by an act of your will. You may not feel forgiving. It doesn’t matter. Just do it and many times the feelings will follow that choice – other times they won’t. Feelings are irrelevant, but obedience is crucial. Do not base the validity of what you are doing on how you feel. Make the choice to forgive and then obey.

Someone once said: “We put our resentments in cold storage and then pull the switch to let them thaw out again. Our grudges are taken out to the lake of prayer to drown them and we end up giving them a swimming lesson. How often have we torn up the canceled note but hang on to the wastebasket that holds the pieces? This is not to say that human forgiveness does not occur; only that it is rare and that much that passes for forgiveness is often not so at all.”

God is the One who heals painful memories. Forgiveness puts us in the correct posture for Him to do so in our lives. As I wrestled with the choice to forgive, I learned several life-changing truths:

If we make the choice to forgive, God will supply the forgiveness.

There should be no limit to our forgiveness because there is no limit to His.

Forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion. Forgiveness is a deliberate choice.

Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s greatest gift.

While we cannot change the past, we can change our response to the past and dictate the power it has over us. If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist, but because our greatest need was and is forgiveness, God sent a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is calling us all to a higher place, a place of forgiveness. The choice is ours to make. Today, we can choose freedom by choosing to forgive.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You for the love and forgiveness You so freely offer. I don’t understand how You can love me when I am so unworthy of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. To think that He died for me rocks my world. Please give me the wisdom and strength to forgive those who have hurt me. I want my life to be a living illustration of Your unconditional love and unending forgiveness.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of the sins in your life that need the forgiveness of God. Ask God to forgive you for each one. If you have sinned against someone else, take the first step of reconciliation. If someone has sinned against you, forgive that person and seek restoration in that relationship.

More from the Girlfriends

One of the most powerful illustrations of God’s love and forgiveness is found in the lives of Hosea and Gomer. Hear their story in Mary’s MP3 download … Love That Never Fails.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

8 Responses to “The Freedom of Forgiveness Part 2”

  1. Kala says:

    What if yeah you just can’t love the person you need to forgive?

    • Kimberly says:

      You don’t have to “love” the person. You just have to forgive them. Obedience is more difficult at times, than at others. I spent many wasted years refusing to forgive, waiting patiently to get revenge. Literally 20 years for the opportunity against one person. When it came, nobody knew it was me. I will admit, that added extra satisfaction. When I accepted the Lord into my life (I’m still a baby Christian), I forgave that person. I did not necessarily want to, but I knew I had to. Then I prayed for God to bless them, whatever their needs may be. Again, I did not want to, but I did. I still do not love that person, never ever will. The thing is, after I did what God told me to, this is the first time in a year and a half that I have even thought about them. They aren’t someone I see at all, so that makes it easier. For those I do have to see, I just have to pray before, during, and after I see them. I don’t necessarily have to love them, or like them. I focus on loving God, Jesus, and myself the way They love me. That leap of faith is hard. Scary even. But, when you do decide to jump, the rush is AMAZING! Be Blessed.

      • Kimberly says:

        I must add, getting her back when she didn’t know it was me who got her, was satisfying but, that satisfaction was fleeting, and only added to the obsession of waiting to get her again. It feels so much better spending that time learning, and growing into a woman who honors the Lord.

    • Akinola says:

      Dead Ringer there! As a Sister very much in love with my brother Jesus Christ. I discovered if you love a Man or Jesus as much as I do, do it “for” the one you love – in a sense, tolerate, work with, put up with that person that needs to be forgiven for the one you truly with mouthwatering desire LOVE LIKE THAT.

      WORKS FOR ME, SIS. THAT WAY IT’S PAINLESS

  2. Hope says:

    I recently lost my husband, of 16 years, unexpectedly to a heart attack…only 47…and needless to say it has been devastating. Unfortunately I have learned some things/actions of my husband that have been crushing to me. How do you forgive someone that has died? How can I let this go without any resolution or answers to why it happened?

  3. Leah says:

    That’s okay. A friend of mine was crying and saying that though she told God and her ex she had forgiven him for cheating on her, she still had (intense) feelings of anger towards him. My husband told her, “You are still a forgiver.” Like Mary Southerland said, he said that forgiveness is not a feeling, but an obedient act of faith. “You’ve forgiven by faith,” he said, “and don’t let the enemy or you’re feelings tell you you’re an unforgiver.” Every time those bad feelings churn up within you, just pray for God to soothe you. Saying you forgive someone is not saying what they did was okay.

  4. You can choose to love them. Don’t rely on your emotions or feelings. Love is a choice we make in response to the commandments of God. Nowhere in Scripture does God tell us to forgive when we feel like it. He simply tells us to forgive. So make the decision to forgive that person … and God will supply the forgiveness you need.

  5. Vicki Dunbar says:

    I am in the same predicament. There is a person that hurt me in a very personal way. I have been having such difficulty in forgiving this person as he is not aware of why I am so hurt. So this leaves me wondering if he does not know why I am hurt do I tell him and if I do can I forgive?

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