Many would ask, “What does forgiveness have to do with grieving or healing from grief?” Unforgiveness is bondage. 2 Peter 2:19 says, “…for people are slaves to whatever masters them.” Author Mary Ann Kuechler in her book states: “Unforgiveness binds us in a spiral of bitterness and resentment that takes all of our strength, destroys our joy and limits our usefulness. 1
Why must we forgive? We are commanded to. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you.”
Christ gave us the example to follow. Luke 23:34 tells us, “Then Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Another reason to forgive is that unforgiveness delays the healing process and could even stop it. Once we forgive, we are able to live in the present, not the past.
In order to forgive someone, we need to first release that person of all condemnation or wrong doing. There are many times when we can’t do this in our own strength. It’s necessary to ask God for help in forgiving. Each time the feeling of unforgiveness or bitterness starts to swell inside of you, ask God to take it from you. Ask God to help you love the person regardless of what they may have done or neglected to do. You might have to do this often throughout the day. Posting verses around the house to remind you can be a big help. Hebrews 10:30 says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay. The Lord will judge His people.” Romans 12:17 says, “Do not repay evil for evil.”
The second step following releasing the person is to forgive from your heart. Luke 5:45 states, “ A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” When you talk to God about the person you need to forgive, name the offense. Be specific.
Lastly, we need to be willing to live with the ongoing consequences of the offending person’s behavior. Once we forgive someone, as soon as something happens that’s a result of the behavior, the tendency is to be angry again. To truly forgive we have to realize that there may still be things that happen as result of that prior offense. Thus, we need to be ready to accept those results and continue to push forward with forgiveness.
Remember, forgiveness is not the denial of any hurt; ignoring the situation exists; or saying, “Let’s just forget about it.” It’s learning to release that person of guilt or fault against you, laying the wrong at Jesus’s feet and leave there for Him to carry. Once you have laid that burden down, you can move forward with your healing of your grief.
I considered my ways and turned my feet to Thy testimonies.
May the Lord bless you as you continue on your journey towards healing.