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Three Parts of Forgiveness

The Three Parts of Forgiveness

When was the last time you forgave somebody for something that they did or said? How’d you do with it? Is it a done deal? Are there still some feelings and hurts lefts behind? How do you do when you see them? It’s a difficult topic yet, it is important to our walk with God that we are those who forgive. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you”. Paul writes in Colossians 3:13 to bear with one another and to forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. Jesus stated in Luke 6:37 that if you forgive, you will be forgiven. Pretty clear messages aren’t they? So how come so many people have such a hard time with true forgiveness. The issues still bother them, they cannot let some things go, they are moved out of place, and they avoid seeing and greeting those who needed to be forgiven.

I look at forgiveness in three parts… like the legs of a three-legged table… each part necessary for the table to stand. The first part is obedience to forgive. To speak the words of forgiveness are very important. We must ask the help of the Holy Spirit so that we can obey God and speak, whether internally or externally, the words of forgiveness. But it doesn’t end there.

Next comes the hard part. We must ask God’s help in releasing to Him the impact of what happened to us. Most people say the words of forgiveness but never release and give to God the impact of what was done. We must bring to God the pain, the anger, the hurt, the fear, the emotional impact that went to our heart and broke it. We must not ignore what the impact was, but to bring it to God in prayer and ask His help to release the feeling that resulted from what someone did or said. We must let it go into His hands and be free from it. HE will set us free.

And lastly, the hardest part… we must really pray and bless those who we needed to forgive. Not to pray, “Break their teeth oh Lord!” but to bless them and for God to deal with their heart. If we’ve done the first two parts of forgiveness, then we can do the last part. Follow the words of Christ in Luke 6:27-28 as He taught, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you”. Not only can God use your love, doing good, blessing and prayers to affect the life of that person, but you will be made free! You will be unencumbered by the weight of unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment… and you will truly be free!

God knows what He’s doing and He will work it all out and as you trust and obey Him that three legged table of yours will be just fine, standing strong!