The deepest hurt often comes from those who are closest to us and those who we love the most. I, personally, have experienced hurt on many different levels that has come in the form of deception in intimate relationships, betrayal from “friends”, and even strife with my parents and children.
I will be the first one to admit that forgiveness is not always the easiest thing to do especially when the hurt runs deep. When you open yourself up to people and make yourself vulnerable for the sake of love, it can be an uphill battle to recover once your heart has been broken. Many times it seems as if the easiest thing to do is to just shut down and vow to never give anyone access to your heart again.
However, forgiveness is a part of God’s image and because we have been created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), we have the ability and the responsibility to forgive. God does not ask us to forgive, He commands us to do so. God makes this commandment because forgiveness is vital to our continued spiritual growth and development, and He desires that we continue to flourish in Him.
If you are currently battling with unforgiveness, I want to share with you 4 scriptures that will encourage you and support you on your journey towards walking in freedom from unforgiveness.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1. Confess that you have been carrying unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness is not only a burden, but it separates us from God. As unforgiveness begins to fester in our heart, it can turn to anger, bitterness and hate towards the person we believe has wronged us. All of these things equate to unrighteousness because it shows that we have placed more trust and hope in people than we have in God. In order to be free from the yoke of unforgiveness, you must first confess that you have been walking contrary to God’s desire for you to trust Him and forgive. Confession releases you from the burden that you have been carrying and allows God to begin the process of purification. This will bring you back into right standing with God, and you will automatically feel the burden of unforgiveness begin to lift from you.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
2. Forgive so that you can be forgiven.
Your forgiveness is predicated on your ability to forgive others. If you are anything like me, you realize that God has forgiven you of much and there are many more times that you will need His forgiveness. It becomes so much easier to forgive others when you take the focus off of what they have done TO you and focus on what God has done FOR you. God is such a merciful God, and I believe that when we practice extending mercy towards others, we are truly walking in His image. Believe me, when you begin to shift your perspective, it will become easier for you to break the spirit of unforgiveness and walk in forgiveness.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that time of refreshing may come from the Lord.
3. Forgive so that you may be refreshed.
Holding unforgiveness towards anyone is draining because it is against the very nature of God. We were not created to be angry, bitter or to hate, but we were created to love one another. Anytime we live contrary to who and what we were created for, it drains us both spiritually and naturally. Repent means not just to say that you are sorry but to actually change your mind and your belief about a certain thing and walk in the opposite direction. When you do this, God gives you a clean slate and He refreshes you. He makes you feel brand new again. This is a great reason to forgive so that you can regain your joy, your peace and your hope.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
4. Forgive so that your prayers may be heard.
God cannot “hear” our prayers if there is unforgiveness in our heart. Prayer is our line of communication with God and in order to remain effective in prayer, we must keep that line clear and open. Many times when we hold unforgiveness, we don’t even solicit God in prayer because we realize that God is not pleased. Prayer is a must in your Christian walk so release the unforgiveness so that God can begin to restore your prayer life. There are some prayers that you have on the table that won’t be answered until you break the spirit of unforgiveness off of your life.