Forgiveness Brings FREEDOM—Part 1

A New Day“Will you help me renew my mind?” The airport shuttle driver surprised me. He obviously had overheard me talking with the woman across the aisle. His landlady, who called herself a Christian, had deeply wronged him. After empathizing, I tried to help him see forgiving the woman would free him from his pain. Forgiveness brings freedom to the one who forgives.

One thing I share with him and with you is that I have been disappointed and hurt by people too. If you live on planet earth, it is just a matter of time before someone hurts you. Some injuries are unintentional and slight. We brush them off and move on. But others cost us dearly. Whether they come from planned attacks or someone’s carelessness, these injuries torment us.

There is a lot of mumbo jumbo about forgiveness. So I want to share some things I’ve learned that I hope will help you. One thing I know: forgiveness brings freedom. In this series of posts I will explain forgiveness by spelling F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

We begin with the F. Forgiveness is: For you—and those you love.

When the issue of forgiveness is raised, often the injured person says “Why should I have to forgive? This was too bad. They don’t deserve it.”

That is why we must understand, forgiveness benefits the one who gives it. I forgive for my sake. The other person may or may not be aware of the turmoil you’re in—or care.

Unforgiveness preoccupies and distracts us from tuning in to those we love. We snap at small things because our hearts are tormented. Resentment erects a wall between us and God. He is still there, but He feels distant. It distorts our view of reality. Life is no longer fun.

Extending forgiveness frees us from this turmoil.

We forgive as Christ forgives –

  • Injuries done in ignorance
  • Injuries done intentionally
  • Injuries that don’t appear to be a big deal
  • Injuries that cause tremendous pain

Forgive for your freedom – so you won’t be in turmoil – so you can heal. And forgive for those you love ( Hebrews 12:15). How many spouses, children, and coworkers suffer because the one they are around denies the injuries of her past and takes out her anger on those around her.

We reached the airport and the driver handed me my luggage. “I’m going to do what you said” the driver said. He smiled and added, “I am going to be free.”

What about you? Are you ready to be free? Forgiveness brings freedom for the one who forgives.

Click here to read another facet of forgiveness. I would love to hear how forgiveness has benefited you.

Blessing,

Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Renee Peebles

    Debbie,

    I so appreciate and am encouraged by your post each and everytime.

    God has done an incredible work in my heart over the past two years and I have come from saying “I’m free in Christ” to experiencing the freedom that only comes as we are not only forgiven by God but also from forgiving those who have hurt us.

    For YEARS I was in bondage to bitterness, unforgiveness, depression and binge eating. Yet, I was also in DENIAL with a capital D! I was miserable in my marriage, defeated in my daily walk all the while BUSY in “ministry” and “doing for the Lord”. Last year God began to reveal things to me which were hard to hear and hard to see. I mean downright gut wrenching. He used my husband, my daughters, His Word and a godly biblical counselor to help me recognize the pain and where it was coming from.

    God showed me myself through others in my life (we do pass it on if we don’t forgive and we do cause damage to those we love the most). It was very painful. Once I could see what I had been doing and the reason behind it which wass unforgiveness, bitterness, etc. Once I could repent of that (I literally felt like something was being pulled out of my heart and thrown up onto the carpet, like I vomited it up), freedom never tasted so good!

    Through that experience and through that time of healing. Through me agreeing with God and saying, “I am wrong God and YOU Oh Lord are right”. “It’s me Lord, It’s I oh Lord, help me to die to myself. To recognize the pain, to remember that I’ve been forgiven and I must in order to be set free forgive for myself to be healed; I am Free from depression. I am experiencing this abundant life Christ offers to us.

    While I know there are things in people’s lives that are deeply painful and hurtful and they need help to deal with it, for me the moment I repented of having SELF on the throne. Once I stopped demanding MY way. Once I stopped reminding God of what they had done to me. Once I cried out to God and said I forgive them, my marriage got better, my relationships with my children became richer and deeper, the JOY of the Lord returned, I could hear Him speak more clearly to my heart each day. I am forever grateful for His forgiveness and I must choose to forgive others that same thing.

    I am able to be the Renee that God desires me to be “In Christ”. God is so good.

    Thank you for sharing these posts. I look forward to the next one.

    In Christ’s love,
    Renee Peebles

    • Debbie

      Renee, What a beautiful testimony. I believe forgiving is like vomiting, but once the poison is gone we can experience your words—”freedom never tasted so good!” Thank you for taking the time to share. Your words bring hope to those struggling to let go.

  2. Marianne Clements

    Debbie,

    I’ve heard unforgiveness described as poison that we intend for someone else, but wind up drinking ourselves. The person who wronged us CANNOT pay us back or unwrong it. Sure we can get compensation, an apology, etc., but it will never erase the wrong that was done. Likewise, we can’t undo all the wrongs we have done. Rather than focusing on what was done TO us, we should focus on what was done FOR us through Christ. The one verse from Romans 12 that helped me forgive and not try to seek vengeance is to “not repay evil with evil”. Unforgiveness is repaying evil with evil. It will keep the cycle of evil going. Forgiveness, on the other hand, stops the cycle of evil and provides freedom.

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne

    • Debbie

      Marianne, I like how you say “Unforgiveness is repaying evil with evil” when we are told to overcome evil with good. Your description reminds me of another one I heard: “Holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!” Thankfully God helps us let it go. We’ll talk about that another time. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Caroline Gavin

    Deborah, this is a powerful post on the freedom of forgiveness! Thank you very much for writing these words from your heart. I wanted to share with you a poem I wrote on forgiveness, as it seems to fit well with your beautiful post:

    Sweet is forgiveness
    When given from the heart;
    From here true freedom
    Does at once start.

    Bitterness and resentment
    Only injure and harm;
    Un-forgiveness keeps us
    From God’s comforting arm.

    Yet to forgive another
    Is to release ponderous chains;
    It is to leave a prison
    Where cold darkness remains.

    For as the heart forgives
    The soul finds warming light;
    Sweet Son-shine embraces
    As one leaves shadows of night.

    My sister and brother,
    Dear Christian, dear friend;
    Let our forgiveness have no limit,
    Let our mercy have no end.

    Greatly we have been forgiven
    By our glorious Father on high;
    No sin against us can match
    Our sins for which Christ did die.

    In response to this divine love,
    In response to this mercy sweet,
    How can we not but offer to others
    Forgiveness pure, full and complete?

    Let us then forgive freely
    All who may hurt and offend.
    Let us love generously all:
    Neighbor, stranger and friend.

    For then we will know God
    Ever more intimately and true;
    Then we shall experience love
    In ways we once never knew.

    For the heart of our Father
    Is mercy, forgiveness and love.
    Let us then be beautifully perfect
    As is our Heavenly Father above.

    Yes, so sweet is forgiveness
    When given from the heart:
    Sweet like the love of Jesus
    From Whom I pray I never part.

    Many thanks again, Deborah, and God bless your heart for Him!

    • Debbie

      Caroline, thank you for sharing your thoughtful poem. You cover the issue so thoroughly and sweetly. I especially like, “Yet to forgive another
      Is to release ponderous chains;
      It is to leave a prison
      Where cold darkness remains.

      For as the heart forgives
      The soul finds warming light;
      Sweet Son-shine embraces
      As one leaves shadows of night.”

      Thank you for wording it so well.

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