“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
A survey was made of 200 married adults regarding forgiveness: The researchers were wondering how one’s ability to forgive others would affect their marital satisfaction and personal well-being. The results were incredible!
This research suggests that there is a huge relationship between marriage satisfaction and forgiveness. In fact, it appears that as much as one-third of marriage satisfaction is related to forgiveness.
Not only does the ability to forgive impact the marriage relationship, it was significantly related to personal emotional distress. As forgiveness ability went up, individuals reported fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue!
Jesus said, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
But what does this mean?
It doesn’t mean God won’t forgive our sin if we can’t forgive others. It means we won’t be able to accept God’s forgiveness for ourselves. We won’t feel forgiven by God because we have a hard time forgiving others.
There are many in our world who struggle with the reality of forgiveness. They have been victims of all types of abuse and trauma. People who have been lied to and lied about. So let’s clear up some misconceptions about biblical forgiveness.
By stating 4 Facts:
1. When we forgive a person, this does not mean we are instantly over it.
It’s not just all over. Forgiveness takes time and it may take years. Just because we say,
“I forgive you” doesn’t mean we feel it right away. It will be difficult, especially in areas of abuse.
2. When you forgive a person, this does not mean you have to be their friend again.
You won’t be best friends after an apology it depends on how deep the hurt and the length of hard feelings. The severity and the length of the hurt is important.
3. When we forgive a person, this does not mean that we trust them, yet.
Trust is something that will take time—it’s earned. And again it depends on how long the hard feelings and severity of the wound.
There is nothing biblically based that says we have to trust them again.
4. When we forgive a person, we are not avoiding the pain we are opening the door to healing.
Choosing to forgive, and it is a choice, starts releasing the person from our justice to God’s justice. GOD is much better and making a person miserable than we are. Give it to God.
Forgiveness is an ACT of FAITH.
Richard Rohr said, ”If you do not transform your pain, you will surely transmit it.”
OR Hurting people Hurt people.
Giving it to God means I won’t transmit my hurt to someone else specifically—my new relationships. This isn’t easy BUT when we forgive we take the journey at the pace we are able to handle…the deeper the hurt, the longer the journey.
But as a Christian, because we have been forgiven, we should have a deep desire to forgive others. At times forgiveness is very difficult. But trust God. Accept the apology and give it when needed.
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1. Peter J. Larson, New Forgiveness Research Jan 27, 2003