To Forgive: Get Real with God

A young woman, who’d come to me for help, sat before me describing what a wonderful man her father was. Since I knew she was a victim of incest, I asked her, “If I brought in a ten-year old girl and told you that every night her father did to her what your father did to you, would you describe her daddy as a wonderful man?”

Tears spilled down her cheeks. “How else can I forgive him?”

How do we forgive the unpardonable? It is not by creating a fantasy or spinning a lie. Jesus didn’t look down on humankind and say, “I know they mean well; I think I’ll die for them.”

No, He said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” (Luke 9:41 NLT). Then He died for us.

In our Forgiveness series we are spelling FREEDOM, because forgiveness brings freedom. Last week we looked at why we forgive. Now, let’s look at the R in freedom. To forgive we must be Real.

Have you ever felt your emotions were too messy to face or share with God? We have a High Priest who sympathizes with us in our weaknesses and helps us in our time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). We don’t have to clean up before we show up with Him.

Jesus said, “The truth will set you free,” (John 8:32 NIV). We must get real with ourselves and with God to experience true freedom from our injuries and bitterness.

To Forgive—Get Real

Pain can distort our perception. When we’ve been hurt, we need God’s help to see clearly. A good place to start is by praying Psalm 139:23-24.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way” (NASB).

Pain can distort our perception. When we’ve been hurt, we need God’s help to see clearly. A good place to start is by praying Psalm 139:23-24. #forgiveness Share on X

Journaling helps me express my jumbled thoughts and emotions to God and hear from Him. I suggest dividing your journaling into three parts.

  1. Get real.

    Express everything you are thinking and feeling to God. Tell Him what happened and how wrong it was. You don’t have to sanitize your thoughts for Him. He already knows what you feel.

  2. Recall.

    Write down all you know to be true about God. Let His promises fill you with hope.

  3. Receive.

  • Perspective

    A gentle pat stings sunburned skin. A past injury makes us more sensitive. We may overreact to a new scratch because it touches an old wound. If this happens it’s easy to assume wrong motives that aren’t there.
    When we ask God to search us and get honest about how we see things, He can remind us of the character of the person who hurt us. If we’ve over reacted, then we can tell ourselves the truth—this is a good person who loves me. This hurt because it reminded me of another injury. My expectations were unreasonable. They can’t read my mind or understand my old wounds.
    Viewing a scratch through old injuries impairs our vision and magnifies a hurt. Being real removes the log in our own eye (Matt. 7:3-5). We may discover we need forgiveness in this situation too.

  • Balance

    Sometimes we condemn one person to protect our relationship with another. For example, Parent A was abusive. Parent B privately consoled us but never protected us. When we’re honest and realize Parent B had the power to shield us but chose to protect themselves, we realize we have two people to forgive.
    Being honest about how a parent or an authority figure wronged us does not dishonor them. It allows us to clean our wounds so we can heal and love with God’s love. We’re not assigning blame. We’re acknowledging our pain so we can let it go

  • Comfort

    Jesus promises comfort for those who mourn. Being real opens our hearts to receive God’s balm.

Don’t skip the step of getting Real because you’re afraid facing the whole truth may cause you to feel Emotional. We’ll discuss that next time. Being real is necessary to truly forgive and find freedom.

We’re here to help you find freedom through forgiveness. A chapter in Little Women, Big God addresses forgiveness in more detail. Contact us at Lighthouse Ministries for personal help.

Join the conversation here?



The Forgiveness Brings Freedom series continues with Forgiving Hurts: Not Forgiving Hurts More.

Photo by Ricky Rew on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #FreshMarketFriday, #Grace&Truth, #Faith ‘n Friends

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  1. Melissa Henderson

    A wonderful message! Forgiveness is important. Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! Thanks Melissa.

  2. Ann Musico

    Love this Debbie. This can be difficult. I always found it difficult to express those less than pretty emotions but you are so right. He already knows exactly how we feel and unless we get real and admit it, He can’t change it. Pretending never works.

    • Debbie Wilson

      You’re right Ann. It is hard to admit ugly feelings sometimes. But that’s the way we get washed clean. Thank you.

  3. Joshua J Masters

    What a wonderful post. The phrase “Jesus didn’t look down on humankind and say, ‘I know they mean well; I think I’ll die for them.’” is so powerful. I love your use of Get Real, Recall, and Receive. That’s a fantastic exercise. As you know, I found your post because I was also writing about forgiveness this week, I look forward to seeing the rest of the series and going back to the letters in your acronym that I missed. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Joshua. I enjoyed your post today too.

  4. Stephanie Pavlantos

    Great post! I love this line: A gentle pat stings sunburned skin. A past injury makes us more sensitive. We may overreact to a new scratch because it touches an old wound.
    So true. I have been there. Forgiveness is the only way to healing and freedom. Thanks!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Stephanie. I’ve been there too!

  5. J.D. Wininger

    In was in learning the lessons of true forgiveness that God was able to remove the pain. The memories of my past are still there; with God’s amazing grace, the pain isn’t. What an amazing post Ms. Debbie. So needed in this world today. THANK YOU!

    • Debbie Wilson

      J. D., I’m so thankful He has removed your pain. What a Savior!

  6. Julie Lavender

    I love your alliteration, Get Real. Recall. Receive. Makes it easy to remember the words, now I’ll need to remember to actually ;put it in practice! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Julie. And congratulations on your award this week for your article!

  7. Aimee Imbeau

    Thanks for this great post, Debbie. If we want to begin the forgiveness process (which we should), then we do need to actually acknowledge the damage that has been done to us. I have chosen your post as my G & T feature this week. Please stop by Friday to get the “I Was Featured” button for your post! Simply right click the image on the G&T post and save to your computer. Thanks for linking up faithfully!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Awesome, Aimee! Thanks so much! God bless you and your ministry.

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