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Home » Deborah Ross, Emotions--breakdown or breakthrough?, Featured Article, Forgiving others/Forgive Yourself, Tools 4 Building Your Faith

Forgiveness Is A Process

Submitted by on May 20, 2009 – 6:00 am3 Comments

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Written By: Deborah Ross

Forgiveness is a PROCESS that begins with a DECISION

James 1:15 tells us that once lust is conceived, it brings forth sin. Then, once sin is finished with you, it brings forth death. Unforgiveness is a conceived sin that is designed by Satan to kill YOU. The unforgiveness you hold in your heart does not hurt the other person; but rather, it slowly destroys “your” entire being, robbing you of “your” life, all the while separating you from the presence of God. First, comes the offense! Next, bitterness. Then, unforgiveness. And finally… torment!!!

Oh, I know firsthand, the pain and suffering caused by that gigantic bitter pill that was shoved down your throat… against your will. You didn’t ask for it; you didn’t even deserve it. You’ve tried to get rid of it. Yet, here you are, going through the motions of life on “automatic pilot.” No joy. No vision. No peace. Just a nagging replay of the offense, going over and over and over again in your head. You want so desperately to be freed from this torment… but how?

First of all, let me tell you that you “are” capable of forgiving. No matter how vile your injury, God has given you the strength, power, and ability to overcome those demonic forces that have hurt you. I remind you that forgiveness is also a process that begins with a decision. Once you have determined in your heart that you must forgive, you’ll need to stick with your resolve until your emotions line up with God’s Word. The ONLY way to do this is through PRAYER… and lots of it!

After my husband defiled our marriage of eighteen years through gambling our finances away, lying, alcoholism, drug addictions, and secretly (so he thought) lusting over pornography, I was angry and frustrated to no end. But, once he crossed the sacred line of our marriage vows (after all that I had already put up with) by committing adultery, it was as if Satan, himself, shoved a nine-foot-tall glass of bitterness down my throat. I was poisoned! Back then, that poison made me think I’d never be the same. I thought I’d never be able to get over the hell that he put me through for so many years. I was mad at him; I was mad at the adulteress; I was mad at an in-law for deceiving me concerning my husband’s whereabouts; and, I was mad at God for allowing this to happen to me!

Luke 17:4“And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”

I knew that the Word of God says you must forgive “seventy times seven,” but I was hoping that I had reached that magic number of four-hundred and ninety so that God would allow me to harbor unforgiveness toward my husband – forever! Desperate for help, I ran to my church and sought counsel from a pastor on staff. I learned so many things from our sessions that helped me to forgive, and I’d like to share some of them with you now.

First of all, when the Bible speaks of “seventy times seven”… it’s not a finite number, such as four-hundred and ninety. When Jesus told Peter that he should forgive “seventy times seven,” He was actually saying, “You must always forgive.” Let’s look at another passage of scripture that confirms this point…

Matthew 6:14

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Ouch! Did this mean that God would not forgive me of my sins, if I didn’t forgive everyone else of theirs… including my husband?

Mark 11:26

“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

You see, I was a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian who had enjoyed the power of the Holy Ghost for many years prior to the offense; and now, I couldn’t bear to think of ever returning to that place of separation from God’s presence. I knew I would have to forgive “everyone” who seemed to have taken part in my demise, but I was completely overwhelmed at the enormity of my dilemma. Everything in my life appeared to be broken, and I couldn’t see any sort of light at the end of my tunnel.

Thankfully, this godly counselor gave me the following pieces of wisdom that saved my mind and made it possible for me to move forward in God’s will of forgiveness. First, he said, you must forgive your husband, as well as everyone else who has offended you throughout this trial. This does not mean that you have to stay married to your husband (according to scripture, divorce is permitted in the case of adultery – but this is not God’s perfect plan); it does not mean that you have to associate with the adulteress or even keep company with your in-law. You “do” however need to stay in fellowship with God.

Then he said, “You need to compartmentalize your offenses so that you can deal with one hurdle at a time; leaving all of the other people and problems in the Lord’s care until you are ready to handle more.” Learning to separate the troubling aspects of my life, to deal with one thing at a time, was a huge piece to the puzzle of my forgiveness journey.

And so, I decided to work on forgiving my husband first. (Of course, I knew I couldn’t stay mad at God. After all, without His blessings I’d never be whole again. He is my breath, my life, my strength and my source. He is my deliverer!) I cried, “God help me!”, as I literally ran to my closet – many times a day – to pray. Screaming, crying, arguing, reminding, begging (yes, even begging) God to help me to forgive. I quoted scripture. I bound up principalities and powers. I bound good things (according to God’s Word) to me, my husband, and my children. I pleaded, “God, take this bitterness from me! Help me to forgive!” Each day, the Lord would take my bitterness from me and I would be strengthened, but the next day… I would have to start the process all over again. It’s not that the Lord didn’t take it; rather, I kept taking it back. The devil would flood my mind with horrendous thoughts and images, sending me into a panic attack as adrenaline surged through every cavity of my soul. This was truly the hardest battle I had ever fought.

It took me about a year to purge the bitterness that consumed my being. I don’t recall the exact moment, or the exact day, but I just know that at some point, I became free. Of course, throughout this year-long prayer vigil, I prayed for my husband (the one who offended me). Thankfully, he became a born-again believer shortly after our marital collapse. And so, I decided that if I had to forgive him, then I wanted the prize for my hard work. I wanted my marriage to be restored… and it was! Hallelujah!

Your situation may not require restoration with your offender. Perhaps you were violated by a stranger, or maybe by an acquaintance. Regardless of “who” hurt you, forgiveness mandates that you pray blessings and not cursings upon your perpetrator. If you find that too hard to do, start by praying for their salvation – that is more than enough. If the person claims to be a Christian, then pray that God will open the eyes of their understanding, so perhaps they’ll feel remorse over hurting you and ask for your forgiveness. If they don’t… it’s OK! Pray for them to not suffer the consequences of the wages of their sin(s) toward you.

I once witnessed someone’s house burning down in the middle of the night shortly after they blind sighted me with hideous rage. Through this instance, the Lord taught me the importance of praying for my enemies. That person, and their entire family, was unsaved and they would have all spent eternity in hell had they died in their house fire that night. Was the fire the wrath of God? That, I don’t know; but, what I do know is that God spoke to my heart about the importance of praying for those who have offended me.

Ephesians 4:32

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

forgiveness-2

Forgiveness. How do you forgive?

* Realize that forgiveness is a commandment from God… it’s not a suggestion.

* Purpose in your mind and heart that you will purge “all” bitterness and malice toward your offender.

* Cry out to God DAILY asking Him to take the bitterness from you – UNTIL IT IS ALL GONE!

* Compartmentalize your problems so that you can accomplish one thing at a time, leaving the others in God’s hands until you are ready to deal with them.

* Pray for your offender. Pray blessings and not cursings.

* Read your Bible.

* Praise and worship God in the midst of your pain. (This really confuses the devil.)

* Don’t rehearse your bitterness. Only speak of your testimony in light of what God has done to turn things around, according to His Word – and not according to the desires of your flesh.

* Speak the truth in love. If possible, tell the person that they offended you. Perhaps they’ll repent. If they don’t… you must still forgive, for your sake!

Remember what Jesus said as He hung on the cross…“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This should be your example. This should be your goal. When you choose to forgive, you create fertile ground for God to work a miracle. Who knows? Maybe “your miracle” will be a restored marriage, mended relationship(s), a new job, born-again family members, your offender becomes born-again, financial prosperity, healing in your body, a dream accomplished or ____________ (put your secret heart’s desire here.) With God, all things are possible!

Matthew 5:44

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Luke 6:28

“Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

deborah

Deborah Ross

3 Comments »

  • Hello Sister,

    I am in for Deborah. My name is Trophy of Grace. I pray that the Lord would give me His Words to speak to you.

    “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

    Sister pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)Don’t allow yourself to be full of pride because it is dangerous and will lead to God’s punishment. The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished is what Proverbs 16:5 says. Repent of your proud heart and bind that spirit of pride that has attached it’s self to you. Ask the Lord to give you a humble heart. (Proverbs 21:4)

    Colossians 3:12-15 is a word that our Lord has given to me over and over again. He has given it to me when I find myself easily offended or hurt, and let down by expectations that I PUT on others. He gives me this word to remind me to clothe myself in love instead of pride.

    “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you MUST clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive ANYONE who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so YOU MUST forgive others. ABOVE ALL, CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH LOVE, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. AND LET THE PEACE that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

    I understand what you are saying about your husband. When I sit and meditate on all the things that are different about my husband and I, I begin to feel frustrated too because my perspective is distorted by what I think he should be. We need to allow our husbands to be who they are and let the Lord change their hearts, attitudes, and thoughts. After all it is His Word, not ours, that will renew their minds. Also, remember that the same Holy Spirit that ministers to us ministers to them too. We have to trust our Lord because I am certain that God, who began the good work within our husbands and us, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)
    Start meditating on all of your husband’s good attributes and thank God for him daily. You have a father for your children and husband who most surely loves you. Pray for him all the time and ask God to change your heart about all of this.

    Also, I want to encourage you to read Romans 6 and really meditate on it. You said that your flesh is very strong, but you need to know that you are no longer a slave to sin or your flesh. Sometimes people don’t realize that they have freedom in Christ Jesus and they stay in bondage to whatever sin is hindering them. You have the Spirit of the Living God in you and the Spirit of God is more powerful than any demonic spirit or influence in this world. It’s time for you to walk in the freedom that Christ Jesus died to give you sister. As you read Romans 6 I pray the Lord give you ears to hear and eyes to see that sin’s power is broken in your life.

    “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:5

    Start really meditating on the Word of God day and night and you will see that your mind will be renewed and transformed by it. You will begin to see life’s situations through the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

    I will be praying for you and your family. Be blessed and be diligent in seeking God’s face.

    Sincerely,

    Trophy of Grace

  • kakiaa says:

    Hello Deborah,

    I am a person with lots of pride. I discovered it when i realised that i find it very difficult to be the same person after some kind of hurt from them. i get hurt very quickly.

    In spite of praying hard my flesh is very strong. I find it very diffcult to forgive my husband bcos of difference in our characters and his selfish nature. i love to be social but he wants to be in his rut . i have high expectations from my children but he refuses to cooperate.I am very helping to others but he just doesn’t care much.Otherwise he is very commmitted to the family but i get frustrated with the differences.

  • pat jennings says:

    Thanx soo much.I soo needed to be reminded of this, again.I’m an overcomer of incest & other assaults as well, & it took me a few years of saying outloud,”Daddy I forgive U in Jesus name”,..Everyday, also saying to God, u know I don’t mean it,…but,eventually my forgiveness became a reality.It is SOO worth the effort.Its called:
    FREEDOM !

    I Find IN Him,my resting place,
    Pat Jennings

    http://www.patjennings.injesus.com

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