At some point, we have all struggled with forgiving someone who hurt us through words or deeds. The flesh naturally rebels against forgiving anyone who hurts us deeply or causes us pain. Trained to respond to such circumstances through our senses, we find ourselves reacting emotionally in ways that eventually lead to physical, psychological, and spiritual destruction – not only to ourselves, but also to our children. The words we speak will also shape the relationship between our children and both parents; words have the power to further strain or to help heal the relationships.
It is very difficult to forgive and to speak words of encouragement when we are wounded, but the reverse (wounding our children through negative opinions) will only lead to problems that may be difficult to eventually overcome. We must allow our Father’s wisdom to penetrate our hearts, because it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. If we permit our Father to comfort us, today will be a day of breakthrough! He has given us everything we need to recover. When we were born again, He gave us His nature – His capacity to forgive. This is how He knows we can do it! We are daughters of the King with the royal DNA of our Heavenly Father! Forgiveness prevents the enemy from polluting our hearts and the hearts of our children with anger, bitterness, and rage.
According to the Word, forgiveness is a reciprocal process. As tough as this may sound, our Father requires us to forgive, if we desire forgiveness. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings” (Mark 11:26 AMP). Our Heavenly Father understands that some offenses have more serious consequences than others, but He also knows that if we don’t forgive, healing and restoration will never occur. He knows forgiveness is possible because Jesus, who experienced every hurt mankind can experience, never stopped loving us unconditionally. He was persecuted, afflicted, beaten beyond recognition, jeered at, bathed in the spit of His accusers, taunted, and rejected by the sinners He loved and had come to save. He still allowed Himself to be hung on a cross to die for our sins and for our forgiveness, although man was His enemy. In spite of His sufferings, He asked our Father to forgive those who persecuted Him, “…because they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34 KJV). He didn’t check in with His emotions for direction.His forgiveness was quick and automatic. While our Father does not expect us to subject our bodies to tree hanging, He does expect us to imitate Jesus, to model His behavior for our children, and to allow Him to heal our hearts.
Knowing that an unrenewed mind limits our ability to forgive, our Father wants to help us change our attitude and response to painful situations, although He does understand that becoming God-like is a process. He wants us to “…be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image…” (Ephesians 4:23-24 AMP).
Next week we will continue with this topic and look to God’s Word to renew our minds and transform us into forgiving and grace-sharing vessels to those around us.