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Five Tools for a Healthy Heart - Part Two

“The man who is truly forgiven and knows it, is a man who forgives.”

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Last week I began a series of posts on the tools God has given us in His Word to have a healthy heart. Sin robs us of internal peace unless we use the tools of confession and repentance. Today’s post covers how to respond to offense and hurt from others. To maintain joy even when we have been offended, we need to utilize the tool of forgiveness.

When my dad left my mom and filed for divorce, I was hurt and angry. The last thing I wanted to do was what the counselors suggested – to forgive my dad. “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” (Matthew 6:14-15). This verse motivates me to forgive those who have wounded me, for I need God’s forgiveness. How can we not give away forgiveness when God has repeatedly and mercifully forgiven us?

Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves as it releases the hold of being emotionally bound to our offender. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling, and it requires supernatural assistance from God. It’s unconditional and expects nothing from the offender. When we truly forgive someone, we release them from paying us back and we no longer hold it against them. But they are still accountable to God for their sin.

One of the benefits that comes as we forgive others, is we are set free from bitterness and resentment that eats away at us, and defiles others. Please don’t let pride or allowing a revenge mentality of ‘You hurt me; therefore, I’m going to hurt you,’ prevent you from experiencing the freedom that comes through forgiveness.

Forgive specifically, leaving no room for the enemy to come back and taunt you, saying you really didn’t forgive. For example, regarding my dad divorcing my mom, I said, “I choose to forgive my dad for leaving and divorcing my mom and the hurt that it caused my family.” As a result of letting go of Dad’s offense, I became free.

As Jesus was crucified, He gave up His right to be offended (Luke 23:34) and entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). Instead of sweeping your hurt and offense under the rug of your heart, use the tool of forgiveness, to heal your heart.

Image by BenteBoe from Pixabay

“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”

C. S. Lewis

Relevant Reflections:

1. How has unforgiveness affected your life and relationships with those you love?

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there is anyone you need to forgive.

Top Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

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