Love over Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness creates an emotional storm of distress. Unforgiveness may manifest itself in anger, sometimes it is self-righteousness, or anxiousness, or insecurity, or even fear. The biggest way unforgiveness shows up in our lives is bitterness.

Your emotions are valid, they are real, and it is important to understand how they work and how to keep them tethered to the Word.  
Bitterness comes from an attitude of unforgiveness. It cuts your soul; it hurts you at the deepest level of who you are.  

What can heal my past hurts? What can jumpstart God’s work in my family? What can restore the joy and peace in my walk with Christ? The answer is forgiveness.
Jesus says in Mark 11:25, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your transgressions.”

Jesus is saying that if you do not forgive others, you really do not understand the forgiveness the Father has given you.  

There are so many of us who have been hurt in the most wicked ways. You might be thinking, “I cannot forgive, you cannot imagine how they have hurt me.”
Friend, if you do not forgive, you are still hurting today.  

The Gift to Yourself
The Lord will reveal who you need to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. You make the choice to forgive, and experience freedom.  

The gospel is not just how you enter the Christian life, the gospel is how you live the Christian life.

Three Truths to Understanding Forgiveness
1. Forgiveness is not excusing. 

Many of us have been hurt and we have become bitter. If you are bitter, know that your bitterness is affecting those around you.  

Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it, many be defiled.”
Some things do not need forgiveness, they just need to be overlooked. However, there is some stuff that does rise to a point that it cannot be overlooked. Do not ignore it but do what is fitting.

2. Forgiveness is not always reconciliation. 

Forgiveness sometimes leads the way to reconciliation, but it does not have to. Forgiving someone does not mean that you have to trust them again.  

Forgiveness is given by you unilaterally for Christ’s glory, but trust is earned.  

3. Forgiveness is not letting them off the hook. 

Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Leave room for God to work.  

Part of being made in God’s image is your desire to seek justice when we see someone that has been hurt.
Remember that justice will be done! Either Christ will pay the full penalty of their sin just as He did for you, or they will pay the full penalty of their sin in a place called Hell. God is a God of justice.  

Some of you may think, “I cannot forgive, because I cannot forget.” The truth is you will never forget until you forgive. Forgiveness is a decision to cancel someone’s debt against you because Jesus canceled your debt on the cross.  
Identify the debt and cancel the debt.  

How do I continue in my forgiveness?
Forgive and remember.

Pastor Chris Williams
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