In prayer the other day, the Lord spoke to my heart about forgiveness. There were people in my heart that I have not forgiven. It’s easy to think that you don’t have a problem with forgiveness when you’re moving on with your life and not thinking about the past from day to day. But just because I was living my life didn’t mean that I had truly moved on in my heart.
With the Lord's prompting, I begin to think about all the people whom my heart held anger, hatred, contempt, and unforgiveness. There were roughly about ten people or less that came to mind. One by one, I talked to God about each person. I prayed, forgave and released each hardness I had in my heart so that I could make room for joy where I had loss; to make room for love where I had pain.
I’ve had trying times in my life. I’ve shared them with you at times as a testimony. I don’t want you to think me working on forgiveness was easy and all roses. It wasn’t and isn’t. In fact, I’ve had to forgive people of things that others would find hard to do, like forgiving my molesters. The thing is, it may be hard to hear but just as the Lord loves me, He loves them too. It is a challenge that we may all live in His name and do well by others. I take faith in knowing that one day every knee will bow!
There is a deception in thinking that you’ve forgiven someone just because you’ve moved on. Yes, moving on with your life shows that you didn’t let situations and people in your life hold you back. But are they holding your heart back?
Most of us have our personal testimonies about how we survived, overcame and got through with God’s love and help. Yet, at times it could look like we’re sharing our testimonies but we’re actually not letting go of the past. Sharing your testimony is different from grieving conversations about what happened to you and who did you wrong.
A testimony comes with Victory! It comes with Healing! It comes with understanding that you overcame and share your message so that others can overcome the same way you did.
How many times are you going back into your past, telling someone about what happened to you and who did what to you? You’ve told this story many times over and over again. You may go on about how so and so did you and how it made you feel. Though your feelings are justified, you set yourself up to revisit your past, feeling the same symptoms as if it’s happening to you again for the 499th time; incidents that took place over 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years ago. Instead of a Victory, your stories become a badge of martyrdom. Every time you tell the story, you feel just has bad as you did the day it happened, then you feel sorry and pity yourself. You still haven’t reached your Victory. You live like a victim. You live but suspend your healing. And God's healing will pursue you until you open your heart.
That was me in some instances. Is this you too? Can you relate? What stories and narratives from your past still control your life? You have to go to God to help you release your stories into Testimonies so that you can create new narratives! Into Victory!
There’s another part to forgiveness that God showed me as well. You must also ask to be forgiven. Have you done or said something to anyone that they may be holding against you for years? Just like you may be holding on to what others said or did to you, others may have angst against you that needs to be addressed. You can’t ask for forgiveness and don’t give it.
I’ve learned something so powerful about God. He loves you and I so much that He doesn’t play with us having any spiritual weight weigh us down. Just think about it. He knew we couldn’t uphold his laws, so He sent Christ to take the weight and save us. Then once we were saved, we were purified once for all time and our feelings of guilt were taken away. The Lord understands that even guilt can weigh us down. As a Christian, you should not have spiritual guilt. With God, you can work off those things that weigh you down spiritually. It's not your weight to carry. Our Lord offers you complete freedom in Himself!
I want you to begin to heal, go to God starting on a new path to true forgiveness:
Pray about those who hurt you
Pray about those you hurt
Learn to use your story as your Victory
Help others to be Victorious as you were
Move forward in life free in Christ with no spiritual weight
Be healed in Jesus Name!