How to forgive and be free? When to apologize or forgive, why? Here’s how…
AHH, to apologize, to ask for forgiveness or to forgive someone can be very difficult, especially because our feelings and emotions are hurt. Still, God calls us to love and to forgive. We mighty women, must embrace it.
EMPOWERED TO FORGIVE
I've had my share of unforgiveness plaguing my heart. Life seems to have plenty of opportunities to forgive. This particular time came in disguise. It was through an offense. Although it was not directed to me, but to a family member, still, it invaded my heart.
I felt like one of mine was being attacked, so was I. In general, peace is my indicator that things are good - as soon as peace leaves, oh-oh, something’s not right. With this particular situation I had none, no peace at all! The impact made me feel anxious, upset, provoked.
Beware of emotional distress. When we are impacted emotionally or physically is it best to ask yourself: “Why am I feeling like this?” “Why do I feel like I feel?” These kinds of questions help us to be aware if something is trying to influence us.
Awareness is the first step to freedom. If we can’t tell or pinpoint when something is wrong, most likely we will not be able to find the freedom we need.
How could I tell that resentment and unforgiveness knocked at my door? My heart was racing, these ugly thoughts and feelings were trying to take me down.
Offense, hate, unforgiveness are spiritual influences that if not dealt with, they can make us emotionally and physically sick. The heart can get very ugly if we don’t make a move to remove these negative influences quickly.
We must to do something! When our soul (mind, will, and emotions) are impacted by a negative (evil) influence, we need to immediately check our heart. A new hurt, or one that is woken up by a situation must be dealt with.
We can do this!
As followers of Jesus, we have Jesus in our hearts, God's Spirit lives in us. That means you and I through the Holy Spirit can forgive, be free of resentment, disappointment, offense, insecurity, all of these and other negative emotions. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, Counselor, Strengthener, and much more. (See
Here is what I’ve learned from John 20:21-23. I think the revelation of these few verses will change your perspective. In verse 21 Jesus shows up on a moment’s notice and starts out with a big statement, “… Peace!” Exactly where we need to start in this process of forgiveness. Receiving God’s peace for the situation, for any situation!
Then, with great reassurance Jesus sends us out to the world. Jesus is the One sending us, right? He already knew we would deal with difficult people, people we may need to forgive.
In verse 22, Jesus then adds the empowering force as to how things get done,
“… He breathes on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!” Jesus being so full of the Holy Spirit and we also having the breathtaking breath of the Holy Spirit in us can live life moment by moment empowered to do what we are called to do. In this case, to forgive.
I’m working on this myself! I too forget that it is a reality that I can do all things through Christ enabled by the breathing of the Holy Spirit moment by moment. He lives in me, this is posible if I yield to Him.
Then it gets even better when in verse 23 Jesus give a direct, powerful declaration of the capacities of what that breathing of the Holy Spirit can do through us.
John 20:23 “[Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him] if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven: if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained. Wow! Did you see that… we have in us what it takes! We can do this if we chose.
“Now having received…” means it is available to us right now, in this time of life. We have the breath of the Holy Spirit and that has empowered us to forgive/remit that word in Greek means (aphiemi G863) to let go, to disregard, leave behind, to yield up.
When we let go, we are free! Not only that. It then opens the way for us to yield even more to the Holy Spirit, more power to us.
The “if” is the scary part. “... if we don’t yield to the Holy Spirit and forgive- we get in trouble.
If we choose to retain, that word in the Greek is (krateo G2902) to have power over, to be the master, to take hold of you, to restrain or use strength upon.
If we don’t forgive then we retain. Oh, no! If we retain, it restrains us. That means it gets difficult to move forward. Likely that we will not be used by Him in the gifts of the Spirit and advance God’s purpose. We live stuck! Giving little to no glory to God in what we do.
MAKE A CHOICE
I think you are now getting the picture of why we must make a choice to forgive. We don’t want to be gripped and restrained by unforgiveness. This nasty spirit can wreck our life. It will keep us trapped to that person, and attached to that situation - no way we want that!
Whatever God calls us to do, we can be sure He will also empower us to do it. We are enabled by the Holy Spirit to forgive.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to forgive. To enable means to help you – to empower you - to supernaturally give you the ability to accomplish something you can't do on your own. Ask, be open to receive.
HOW TO FORGIVE
It is time for a real and sincere conversation. Acknowledge how you feel. Go ahead, vent! Tell someone you trust how you feel. Someone who will not judge or criticize you.
Even if there is someone in your life who you can to talk to, still, you must talk to God about it. You don’t have to worry about how God is going to take it, He can handle it very well! God loves you, He can be trusted. Give Him your full confession. Believe it or not, by doing this you will open the gate for healing to begin.
Next, get cleaned up. Allow yourself to disconnect that or those influences from your soul so you can receive freedom. Ask God to forgive you for carrying or keeping unforgiveness in your heart.
To move into freedom, let’s make use of one of God's best promises that relate to forgiveness and freedom of sin.
You can find this promise in 1 John 1:9. Say this outloud (mean it in your heart):
“I forgive (name the person) ______________ for (say the reason, matter or situation) ____________________________________, in the Name of Jesus.
I choose love. I choose to forgive (name that person again) ______________ . I let go of every (include every memory, all ugly thoughts, feelings and emotions you can think of) ____________________________________________ that would try to get me attached (caught up or trapped) to ____________________ (name the influence(s) that you feel - example: resentment, hate, bitterness, anger, etc.) those things that can make my soul twisted, entangling my mind and heart to evil.
I want nothing to do with darkness. I close all the doors opened, the ones I know to be opened and even the doors I don’t know I have opened. All doors are closed right now in the Name of Jesus. Sealed shut with the Blood of Jesus.
I replace every area of my soul that has been damaged by these ugly, negative, evil emotion with God’s truth. I choose to allow and reconnect my heart to God’s love, life, presence, peace, wisdom, and joy in the Name of Jesus.”
Sometimes (a lot of times) the person who need forgiveness is YOU. Take a moment to look inside. God already forgave you, now it's time to forgive yourself. If God doesn't remember your sins, why would you go on living life carrying such huge burden? Be brave - forgive, forget, be free!
Say this out loud:
“I forgive myself for ______________. I hold nothing against me. I will not allow evil influences and negative thoughts to infiltrate my mind, will, and emotions.
I choose to let go of any guilt, shame and tormenting thoughts that would keep me from moving forward. I know God loves me, I choose to love myself.”
When it comes to God’s spiritual things, we don’t necessarily go by feelings. We go by the truth of God’s Word and what He has to say about that matter.
You may or may not feel different after forgiving or asking for forgiveness... that does not mean it did not happen. That doesn’t mean you are not free. Feelings shift, they are sometimes fleeting, temporary. God’s truth is real. God's love brings freedom, our heart changes. Give it time. Trust God. Let Him do His thing!
And now give God the glory and the honor He truly deserves. Praise Him. Wow! You should be feeling much better by now. Yes, things are going to change for you after this. Watch how love and freedom take new heights in your life. Expect God to move in ways you have never seen before. Oh, YES!
GIVE A GIFT THEY DON’T DESERVE!
Think of forgiveness as a gift she or he does not deserve. God did it for you when He forgave you. By grace, you are forgiven, with God you can extend that grace to others.
First, you must know what God wants you to do. It may be that it is time to make contact. Sometimes there is no easy or exact way to do this. Sometimes you have to meet someone in person, call, or write to amend things.
Other times you can’t, because perhaps they have passed away, you don’t know who or where they are, or it’s just not safe for you to contact them. That’s ok! You already took care of it with God personally.
It is important for you to know that because you forgave someone this does not mean that you need to start or continue a relationship with that person(s).
A lot of us have use special pages in our journals as a written symbolic point of contact to take responsibility and to choose to forgive. I have done this myself.
Another time I wrote a letter to someone, describing the situation, the ugly feelings, etc., asking for forgiveness for what I did, also forgiving them for what they did.
Remember, this is a matter of the heart and about you letting go and letting God do something. Your part is to forgive, leave the rest to God; He will show you if there is more to it.
Regardless of the way you and God decide how to forgive, just do it. Please, don’t leave it for later. Give freedom, and get freedom!
Give a gift that they do not deserve. Let that person know you no longer hold anything against them in your heart. Just say it! I forgive you. Be real, be true.
God will help you and them through it. Love never fails... and forgiveness always gives freedom to the heart! Mainly ours...