by Terri Blanchard
Betrayed. Robbed. Cheated. Mistreated. Used. Abused. Stabbed in the back. Taken advantage of. That’s how it felt. I was angry, bitter, and resentful. How could someone so close to me do this to me? What she did to me seemed unforgiveable. Absolutely nothing within my physical being wanted to forgive her, but everything in my spirit knew I had to.
I consulted a mentor and asked for prayer support. Then, I studied my Bible and two other books on the issue of forgiveness; Do Yourself a Favor…Forgive by Joyce Meyer and The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. The following notes are just a few things I learned.
Why did I have to forgive?
1) The Bible says to forgive.
- Jesus said to forgive others in John 20:23.
- Ephesians 4:27, 31 and Hebrews12:15 instruct me to get rid of anger, wrath and bitterness.
2) God forgave me and wants me to forgive others.
- Matthew 18:23-35 is the parable of the unforgiving servant (it is a good read!). It points out that God forgave me and if I do not forgive others then I will live in my own prison of torture.
- “A person who will not forgive is a person who has forgotten what they have been forgiven of.” (John Bevere)
3) Forgiveness brings freedom.
- Forgiving her and asking God to forgive me of my unforgiveness allows God to work in me.
- When I forgive and release my offender then I allow God to work in her.
How do I forgive?
1) I had to make a decision to forgive that was not based on how I felt. I did not feel like forgiving her but I knew God wanted me to.
2) I stopped thinking and talking about what she did. Rehearsing the offense only kept feeding my anger.
3) I needed the Holy Spirit to help me. I literally cried out to God, “I need your help to forgive her! I cannot do this without you!”
4) I started praying for her. Matthew 5:34 tells me to love and pray for those who hurt me. I ask God to show me her heart, why did she do it? Why was I so hurt by it? What is the root in all this? He showed me! I prayed into her life what I wanted God to do in my life. I asked God to place love in my heart for her. Eventually, I was able to ask God to bless her.
What does forgiveness lead to?
1) God desired restoration and unity in our relationship. Forgiving her was not the same as trusting her. However, living in peace instead of strife, is what God wanted.
2) I needed to go to her and ask her to forgive me for holding anger resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness toward her. I was to go to her about my sin, not hers.
The Power of forgiveness.
The process of forgiveness is not an easy one but it is a fruitful one. By forgiving her, God was able to heal me. Because of forgiveness, I have seen God work in my life and in her life in ways I could never have imagined. I am so thankful that I am forgiven so that I can forgive. There really is freedom in forgiveness.
Terri Owens Blanchard is very happily married to John Blanchard. She is also a mother, a Mimi to her granddaughter, a Mary Kay Consultant, a small group leader to the Military Wives group, and an assistant small group coach. She loves to shop, travel, and shop as she travels! She also enjoys spending time with family, friends and her crazy pets. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excellent article! Forgiveness is so hard sometimes but such a God thing.