She “Can’t” Forgive HIM!

April 19, 2012

She “can’t” forgive.  That’s what I was told by the son of a lady who was raped in her 20’s, causing a pregnancy .

The son that told me about his mom is the child that was conceived as a result of the rape.  He told me that 43 years have gone by since the rape and she still holds deep bitterness towards the man.  This bitterness has affected her entire life…. 43 years and counting. 

That experience would be horrible and I can definitely understand how it can shatter a life, but refusing to work towards forgiveness has continued to ruin her life for 43 years.  As hard as it is, with God’s help forgiveness is possible.

An even bigger question for me is when un-forgiveness results from smaller offenses.  I’ve seen offended people refuse to forgive and hold bitterness over words spoken, misunderstandings, and EVEN CHURCH ISSUES, of all things.   God can’t be pleased when those who claim to follow Jesus and have asked Him to forgive them refuse to forgive their brother or neighbor.

In the Lords Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray “forgive our sins AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US.”  Wow!  I really don’t want God to forgive me like that.  I want God to forgive me BETTER than I forgive others.  Did God REALLY mean that we should forgive everyone?  He couldn’t have meant that, could he?

If we keep reading in Matthew 9, we will come to verse 15.  “For IF you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I’m not going to pretend that I understand everything that God meant in this passage but I do understand one thing.  God doesn’t want us to hold onto un-forgiveness and bitterness.  To let pride get in the way in squabbles just doesn’t make sense.  It hurts your relationship with God.

John says that “if we claim to live in fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”  (1 John 1:6)  If we have bitterness and we’re not allowing God to soften our heart in that area, that’s not exactly walking in the light.

If we really want God to help us forgive, He will.  One thing that we will also find is that the greater the offense that we are willing to forgive, the greater the measure of the Spirit that will come to you.  (RT Kendall)

Translation:  If we’re serious about forgiving larger offenses, God will show up Big Time.

Holding onto petty issues affects the holder of the issue more than the transgressor.  If God has brought anything up in your heart as you have read this post, it’s time to let it go. 

I’d love to hear your ideas on how to forgive and anything that has helped you to forgive someone.  Just leave your thoughts below.

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3 Responses to “She “Can’t” Forgive HIM!”

  1. Alex Nagy said

    Today I posted in my stream on several social networks about forgiveness, and I cannot tell you how I’ve been blessed by both asking for (and in time receiving) forgiveness, but also just by giving it even when it is not asked for.

    It is definitely a spiritual blessing that brings you closer to Him and – as you let go of those things that have hurt you – you find that Christ has already healed the wound and was just waiting for you to realize that.

    Further on in Matthew (Matthew 18) we are taught about what to do about offenses, Peter asks how many times we are to forgive, and Christ goes right into another parable about just how deeply we are to forgive and pass it on to others, just as we expect God to forgive us (that is, completely and without reservation).

    For the woman that is raped, it’s definitely a hard thing to do – forgive the offender – but I don’t think it’s any easier to ask for forgiveness for smaller offenses (such as pushing someone’s buttons just to get a rise or reaction out of them or just being childish).

    • eddiepoole said

      Great points Alex. We need to offer forgiveness, even when it isn’t asked for. Great point also about Matthew 18. Forgiveness is freeing. It releases the power that the offender had on the forgiver. Thanks for reading and for the great insight.

      • Alex Nagy said

        You’re welcome, Eddie. I saw you followed me on twitter and when I saw your latest tweet was this blog post and what it was about, I had to read it. Thank God for that bit of serendipity. (:

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