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Hello, welcome to Walking in Step with God. I am Steve McDonald. Today we explore the topic “Forgive” as we continue in our series “Living a Courageous Life”. In this series we have explored a number of ways we can experience a more fulfilling and powerful life as we walk courageously in our walk with God. In today’s message, we will focus on the power of forgiveness.

It is fair to say that all of us have been wronged by someone. When we are wronged, there are any number of responses. There is a saying that ‘Hurt people hurt people’ and it is so true. When we are hurt by someone, we may feel tempted to hurt the person back, or far worse, lash out at someone who has nothing to do with the situation at hand. If we don’t find a way to hurt the person who has hurt us, we may find ourselves internalizing our anger, bitterness, and resentment. 

Today, let’s discuss the idea of forgiveness. Let us explore three ways to forgive when we have been wronged in a way that honors our walk with God.

I will be right back after this message.

Welcome back. Let’s continue in our discussion of three ways to forgive.

Before we go any further, let’s touch on a few things to consider about forgiveness and what forgiveness is not. 

Forgiveness does not require reconciliation. We are not claiming today that when you forgive someone there cannot be healthy boundaries in place to protect yourself. Forgiveness is not for the other person, but for you, your mind, and your spirit. 

Secondly, forgiveness does not mean forgetting something has occurred. It is wise to remember past behavior to consider how to best protect yourself in future situations. 

Lastly, let us remember that forgiveness is not ignoring the pain that has been caused and the effort it may take to bring healing and peace into your life. Forgiving someone may be the very beginning of years of healing before you eventually find true peace. 

Ok, now that we have reviewed what forgiveness is not, let’s explore three reasons to forgive.

#1 Freedom

Simply put, when we decide to not forgive, we hold our hearts and minds in bondage. Holding on to anger, bitterness, and resentment after wrongdoing is harmful to our hearts and our spirit. Ruminating on the events of wrongdoing and refusing to forgive keeps us trapped in the past instead of moving toward a new future. Dwelling on the actions of someone who has wronged you in the past can keep you from experiencing your fullest life in the present.

In our walk with God, we are instructed to forgive others. God knows the power of unforgiveness and its ability to keep us stuck from moving forward in His plans for us. If you find yourself dwelling on  someone’s past wrongdoing and find it impossible to forgive, ask God for the strength to forgive and move forward from your past. It may take time, but God can and will equip you with what you need to move on in your life and break free of the bondage that comes from unforgiveness.

#2 To glorify God

When we find it in our hearts to forgive, especially in our walk with God, we demonstrate to everyone in our circle the power of our faith. As we find the strength to forgive, we even demonstrate to God our desire to be more like Him. 

When we glorify God, we shine a light for all to see His influence in our lives and in our hearts. Today’s society and culture glorify vengeance and retribution in response to wrongdoing. God asks us to forgive. When we can find the strength to turn away from the ways of the world and toward the desires of our heavenly Father, we glorify God and show the world the power of our faith.

#3 Because God forgave you

Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong and asked God to forgive you? Did you know that in that moment, He wiped the slate clean and forgave you? This is His promise to us, that if we ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven. Not sometimes, not most times, but at all times. 

Now, think about a time someone has wronged you. I think it is fair to say that most of us have experienced a time when we did not feel inclined to forgive. God’s promise of forgiveness serves as a great example of why we should forgive others. The truth is that we all sin, but regardless of what we do, be it the 1st time or the 100th time, God will forgive when we ask for forgiveness.

When we have an opportunity to forgive, consider the things you have done in your life that God has forgiven you and let that inspire you to forgive.


Wrap Up

In today’s episode, we explored the power of forgiveness, discussing 3 important reasons as to why we should forgive. We learned of the freedom that forgiveness can bring. Freedom from the bondage that  keeps us trapped in the past when we harbor a grudge, hold on to bitterness, or ruminate on vengeance. We learned how forgiveness can glorify God by moving against the current of today’s society and culture when it comes to the idea of vengeance and retribution. Forgiveness can demonstrate the power God can give to us to do the very thing that is the most difficult and perhaps the most unexpected thing to do. Lastly, we considered that it is important to forgive for the simple fact that God promises to forgive us when we ask for forgiveness. God forgives us regardless of the circumstances once we ask for forgiveness. 

Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is crucial to position our hearts and minds on a pathway to peace. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting wrongdoing and it does not mean we should not protect ourselves from those who have harmed us in the past, but it does mean giving our heart the permission to move forward in life on a pathway to peace and healing. If you are finding it difficult to forgive someone in your life or in your past, ask God for the strength to forgive. Ask Him to touch your heart with peace and healing and to prepare for a future filled with joy.

Are you interested in discovering more about the guidance offered in this message? Learn more in the companion article Going Deeper with the Word: Forgive


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