How to do the F word
Scripture reminds us that love holds no records of wrongs. We must choose to forgive. To not do so is to keep a record and is therefore a sin. Forgiveness must be verbalised to God (not usually the person who has caused us hurt as they may be totally unaware of the pain they have caused).
We cannot ‘think’ our way into forgiveness.
5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
Forgetting what is behind, leaving it behind, pressing on towards the goal, the calling of God on your life and all its blessings. These things are too important to not have forgiveness flowing.
13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
Forget the former things – do not dwell on the past. Don’t remember; don’t bring it back up (regurgitate).
So who should we forgive?
It may be a husband for their constant shouting, or lack of consideration, lack of patience, lack of tenderness, anger, adultery, ill treatment of the children, selfishness, laziness, not providing, expecting to be served, lack of help in the home.
It may be a wife who you think is too much work, her tiredness, irresponsibility, not giving enough time, spending it with friends, hobbies. Jealousy, criticism, lack of help with the home or children, lack of self esteem, lack of love and affection, nagging, annoyance, not completing tasks, ultra sensitive, wasting finances, lack of personal care, weakness in sexual relationship, intimidation, violence.
Or maybe us parents need to forgive our children for causing anxiety, disobedience, rebellion, lack of discipline, lack of love, lack of understanding, poor school work, untidiness, the way they treat us, cheek and dishonour, or the shame of the consequences their behaviour brings into our lives.
Then there’s parents – (also brothers, sisters and other family members). It could be generational issues, or the affect their marriage had on yours, or if they were wrong role models, being over-strict, rejecting you, divorcing, favouring another sibling, physical or sexual abuse, feelings of injustice.
The list could go on to others who have abused and hurt us, whether they are wider family members, friends of the family, teachers, people we are taught to trust.
Maybe I could highlight some ways to help us to learn how to forgive.
Firstly, spend some time waiting on the Holy Spirit to bring to mind areas where you have felt hurt or sinned against in some way. Don’t agonise over whether they meant ill or not. If you felt it, and maybe still feel it, that is sufficient to have to deal with it now.
If there are issues from the past that you know you have dealt with and have forgiven the person involved, and you have no pain associated with the memory, or even forgotten the memory itself, then ignore these issues.
Then make a list of all the people who have hurt you on one side of a sheet of paper, then opposite their names in the middle of the sheet, make a list of all the things that they have done against you (its important to be specific).
Finally on the right side of the paper list any thing that you have felt ‘owed’ as a result of the offence. If you are unsure, put it down anyway.
There may be some things that you feel against God, e.g. feeling let down by Him. Make a separate list of these on another sheet.
When the list is complete (take as much time as you need) start to work through the list one item at a time.
Speak out to God your forgiveness of that person for the specific offence. For example:
“Dear God, I forgive my dad for beating me unjustly when I spilled a cup of tea when I was 7 years old”
Or if you are feeling more brave add, as though your dad was sitting in front of you:
“Dad, I forgive you for beating me when I was 7”.
At the end of each one also speak out your cancelling of any debt, for example:
“I release you from the debt of justice and an apology that you owe me”.
It is very helpful to have a witness to what you are doing, they act in the same way as a witness to a legal document. It avoids any later uncertainty or accusation about the issue. You did it and it was witnessed, that is the end of it!
With the issues that you feel against God, you cannot forgive God because He cannot sin. What you must do is acknowledge that He is good and ask His forgiveness for holding that grudge against Him.
When the sheet is complete either bin it, or shred it as a sign of the issues being dealt with. Thank God for releasing you from the consequences of unforgiveness.
Let’s look at part of the Lord’s prayer:
25And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.
It’s important to realise that Jesus clearly links our ability to receive and experience Gods forgiveness with our willingness to forgive others. Expect therefore to come into a whole new experience of Gods forgiveness as you ask God for His forgiveness over issues.
Unforgiveness is also linked to giving the devil opportunity in our lives.
As we deal with all unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness in our lives, thank God that He is closing the door on the enemy.
As well emotional stress and disease, unforgiveness may have given rise to physical disease in your body. Ask God to heal you of any such effects.
When you forgive people you will then receive joy and peace, a lightness in your spirit, a feeling of a heavy weight being lifted off your shoulders. You will find that you be a nicer person to be around, never having to live under that cloud again (if we live in forgiveness). You’ll have a clear conscience, you’ll feel closer to God, you’ll start to hear His voice again more clearly, and you will feel His love and experience His forgiveness. You’ll also receive freedom from accusation from the devil, and any other demonic consequences. You will experience restored relationships, and harmony in the home.
Let’s learn how to do the F word.