Do you still have unforgiveness issues?
Have you forgiven all that have offended you?
Have you asked forgiveness to those you have offended/hurt?
Have you tried forgiving someone even if she hasn’t asked for it?
Which is easier for you, to forgive or to ask for forgiveness?
Saying sorry is sometimes very challenging for me. I have difficulty saying it, especially saying it without giving reasons and justifications first. I always regard saying sorry as admitting that she is right and that I am wrong. But saying sorry actually means you are ACKNOWLEDGING that YOU have hurt the other person. So when you say sorry, you are actually VALIDATING their feelings. What you are trying to communicate to them is that you acknowledge that YOU HAVE HURT their feelings. And you are sorry for that.
I’ve learned this recently through a friend who was trying to tell me that not being able to say sorry means not admitting you’re at fault, in short, being prideful.
Do we really need to raise the white flag? Will it hurt us to do it?
Definitely, YES. Apologizing is very important in any relationship (friends, co-workers, churchmates, family and even to Him). And knowing when to raise the white flag and admit your fault is not a defeat but rather an opportunity to grow and live in peace. We’ve asked God so many times for the virtue of humility. But most of the time we fail to recognize that saying sorry is an opportunity for us to increase in that virtue.
1) FORGIVING IS NOT A ONE SIDED LOVE AFFAIR
Forgiveness is not like an unrequited love that has only one side. There are two parts in forgiving.
One- the part of the offender (to ask for forgiveness)
Two- the part of the offended (to release his/her forgiveness)
And these two parts are actually the same in the eyes of God. If you can’t ask forgiveness, or if you can’t release forgiveness, both are sins. They are still bitterness and unforgiveness.
I had a recent situation with my sister and it took me awhile to realize I had offended her and so I sent her a message saying my apologies to her. And I am still waiting for her reply. And by the way, it is VERY IMPORTANT that when you say sorry you DO NOT say your excuse first. Just say you are sorry that you have hurt his/her feelings and then stop and let that person digest what you said. After a while THEN you can tell him/her why you said or did what you did.
In this scenario, I have done the first part, but the second part of forgiveness which is supposed to be coming from my sister has not happened yet. God will deal with her, it’s between her and God this time (but of course God will expect higher return from Christians rather than from non-believers).
What if the offended person releases forgiveness right away even if the offender did not ask for it?
“MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO LIVE IN PEACE with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14,15 NIV
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15NLT
“Get rid of all the bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32
2) CHOOSE TO FORGIVE RIGHT AWAY
I offended my sister but did not admit that I was in the wrong RIGHT AWAY. Did not ask forgiveness for a long time and it caused her to be bitter towards me. She got more angry and unforgiving towards me. See?? Had I asked for forgiveness right away she would have forgiven me and bitterness would not have had a chance to take root, right?
In this scenario it will be advantageous for the offended person since she will enjoy the blessing of not having any grudge or root of bitterness in his/her heart.
“Forgiveness is not a state of emotion or a feeling. It is a decision, a choice that you have to make.” – Joel Osteen (in his book Your Best Life Now)
Why? What’s the proof?
Look at those people who are old and are in their death beds but are still holding a grudge against other people. If it is indeed true that time heals, then they should have healed already since they are already old, for sure time has passed, but WHY HAVEN’T THEY? That is because they have NOT CHOSEN to forgive. Yes, time helps but time does not heal.
3) GOD FORGIVES! WHY CAN’T I?
“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” Matthew 18:33
“Brothers, Listen We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus, there is forgiveness for your sins.” Acts 13:38 NLT
It is true that it can be hard for others to release forgiveness to their offenders. Yet God reminded us that even if we are not worthy to be forgiven and saved, He still did forgive and save us. Our sins, though MANY and GREAT, may be forgiven and that will not cause any injury to God’s honour. The same with us; forgiving or asking for forgiveness will not cause us dishonour. In fact, contrary to the standards of the world, asking for forgiveness will give us high esteem in the eyes of God because we were able to swallow our pride and admit our mistake. That is CHARACTER!
Take Away: FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE. CHOOSE TO FORGIVE NOW. NOT LATER.
ARE YOU NOW READY TO ASK FORGIVENESS AND RELEASE FORGIVENESS?