Choosing to forgive is a phrase that can bring up a lot of negative emotions: fear, anger, sadness, disgust, or just plain numbness. When I teach on this topic at our MPower workshops, I say jokingly, “Forgiveness is so easy!” and then the room groans. So, I have to ask myself, “Why are all these people groaning at the mention of forgiveness?”
Part of the reason this happens is that the term forgiveness has been manipulated to mean, “don’t have any boundaries,” or, “you just have to keep letting yourself get hurt.”
So, let’s be clear. Forgiveness in its proper form works hand in hand with strong boundaries and guarding your heart.
What Forgiveness Is
Choosing to forgive someone does not mean that you are saying what they did was okay. In fact, what you are saying is, “Even though what you did to me was not okay, I will forgive you and continue to find healing with the Lord,” because forgiveness is about you and your heart. Not theirs.
Another misconception about forgiveness is that if you forgive someone for what they have done to you, they must remain a part of your life.
We are charged with guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23 (NIV), Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it) and making wise decisions with who we allow to impact our lives (Proverbs 13:20 (NASB), He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm).
When choosing to forgive, it is not your job to blindly trust someone who has significantly hurt you. It is impossible to trust what is untrustworthy. You are able to make a decision if this person will have an opportunity to earn your trust back after you have forgiven him or her.
The last misconception is that forgiveness is a feeling.
Forgiveness is a choice. A choice that you may have to continue to make on a regular basis. You may have to actively forgive someone for a while as you walk through allowing the Lord to heal your heart. It is important to remember that emotions are not truth. So, while you may still feel hurt for what someone has done to you, you can actively choose to forgive them while setting up wise and appropriate boundaries.
Let the Lord Guide the Process
For many of us, forgiveness seems like a daunting task. The beauty of it, though, is that the Lord will help us walk this out. Remember these truths and seek the Lord’s guidance throughout the process, and He will see it through.
If the negative emotions mentioned earlier start to stir as you begin to walk out your forgiveness, ask the Lord to reveal the lies you’re believing and show you the truth. As Christians, we are asked to forgive one another. As humans, we must seek the Holy Spirit in order to fully experience true forgiveness in our lives.
Choosing to Forgive is one of the principles taught at our MPower workshops. To learn more about MPower and register for an upcoming workshop, click here!
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.