When you can find the courage to offer and receive it, forgiving has the power to reverse a slide into despair.
Don Henley is the former lead singer of “The Eagles.” His song, “The Heart of the Matter” takes him only four minutes to sing, but it took him 42 years to write.
Henley possessed the insight to boil the loves and losses of those years down to a single word that sums up what we all should be striving for in our lives: Forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows you to come out the other side of hurt, a better person – better, not bitter.
When you forgive you are free.
You are no longer chained to the other person.
Forgiving is not:
1. Forgiving is not excusing. Forgiving happens when we refuse to excuse. Its all too easy to gloss over the hurtful behaviour of people.
2. Forgiving is not smoothing things over. Mothers & managers are great at smoothing things over so families and employees can live and work together. But that’s not forgiveness.
3. Forgiving is not forgetting. The miracle is in remembering and still being able to forgive. There are some things that shouldn’t be forgotten. If you remember the hurt after you have forgiven that does not mean you haven’t forgiven – it means you’ve been hurt deeply.
1. Forgiving is the wisest choice you can make. People who won’t forgive feel, “I am hurt and angry and its killing me slowly, little by little each day.” Forgiveness wisely releases the hurting person from multiplied hurt.
2. Forgiving turns off the appetite of anger. Forgiving releases you from revenge. From the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NLT)
“Lord, I forgive as you forgave. They have no idea what they did to me, but you do. Please take all my hurt and anger. I release them to you.”
3. We are forgiven as we forgive. An amazing transaction occurs when we forgive. We cannot tell which happens first, our forgiveness or our forgiving, but both are real. “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37(NIV)
4. Forgiving frees you to love again like you’ve never been hurt. We can put up or pull down walls. Forgiveness is leverage to pull down walls.
Who is the someone who needs you and your love for them?
5. Forgiving is an evidence of God’s grace at work in your life. Forgiving gets people’s attention. When a parent forgives the murderer of their children people sit up and take notice. How could they do that? I could never do that.
Genuine forgiveness is supernatural. Sometimes you need to pray, “Lord, please forgive through me because I am having a hard time doing it on my own.”
6. Forgiving is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness has little to do with the offender and everything to do with the offended. When you forgive you release yourself from an eternal world of hurt.
Who do you need to forgive?
Have you included yourself?
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When my first wife left me and our two children, who were one and three at the time, this turned my life upside down! Maintaining a job a raising two little ones, on my own, was challenging. But I forgave her. A few years later I received a phone call, after having no contact with her, that she had passed away. She had taken her own life. I immediately thought how will I ever explain this to my children when they get older and ask about her? I also felt like I was responsible in some way! I have learned to forgive myself, but more importantly I have forgiven her. Blessings.
Thank you for sharing, Craig. There is so much in life that doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would. People don’t sign up for breakups or divorce. Forgiveness is for all the things that go sideways so God can put them right side up. Forgiveness really is the “heart of the matter.”