The darkness was deep; a dense fog seemed to surround me. I couldn’t see. The prison was cold and dark; the isolation was deafening. I was alone. Cut off from relationships; cut off from God. The questions swirling through my mind, “How did I get here? What led me to this place? What happened to my normally upbeat, outgoing, people loving, Jesus loving self?”
Outwardly, it didn’t make sense. I was leading in ministry, teaching, writing, spending time with God, yet there was a block; something I could not move past.
As hard as I tried “doing”everything I knew to do, internally I was living in chains. I could not break free.
God began to speak to me that the only way out of this prison was the road of forgiveness. I had been deeply hurt and was holding on to my pain. The effect of the unforgiveness was it set up a stronghold in my soul.
I had allowed unforgiveness to close off my heart, and it became contaminated with poisonous toxins. I took them in and held onto them. In my desire to self-protect, I built up walls and lost my ability to genuinely love others, a terrifying realization.
God began to speak to me through Luke 6:27-38. In this passage of scripture, Jesus is calling us to operate from a heart process grounded in love, a process of empowerment, not allowing oneself to be used. From the heart, release judgment and extend forgiveness.
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”
The word, forgive literally means to set free; to let go, release. The verse could more descriptively read, “Set it free, let go, release and you will be set free!” Jesus was warning us of the bondage that judgments and unforgiveness create in our soul, setting up an internal prison.
Forgiveness is God’s provision for releasing us from the power and pain of offenses committed against us; it is his provision for freedom. Forgiveness is a two-part process: making the choiceto forgive, and entrusting the Father with the consequences and impact of a person’s behavior, allowing us to begin the healing process.
Jesus took the sins of the entire world on himself including those committed against you.
Forgiveness is not a requirement of a controlling God; it is a gift God gives us so that we can love in the face of real evil. It allows us to be who we are in the midst of difficult situations. Forgiveness is NOT:denial, repression, or being a doormat. Allowing harm to continue is not forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness enables us to set a boundary out of love instead of fear and anger.
The healing that results from forgiveness can be immediate. In many cases, it opens the door to a processof healing. Will you walk through the doorway?
As you begin this New Year, is there pain you are carrying that God is asking you to set free, to release to him?
Who is He asking you to forgive? What is the specific pain that you experienced?
Release it to God. Entrust your hurt and pain to him. He sees. He knows. He loves you. Let him begin the healing process in your heart and life.
Bob Hamp, Forgiveness