by Filoiann Wiedenhoff
Dealing with Unforgiveness
Release It and Let It Go...
I don’t think there is one adult that hasn’t had to deal with this all too common issue, “Unforgiveness.” I myself have had to deal with this very thing many times in my own life and each time it was not easy. So what is un-forgiveness? Well, in order to understand what un-forgiveness is, we have to understand what it isn’t.
The Webster’s Dictionary definition for forgive is: “To give up or cease to feel resentment, to grant relief from payment and/or to pardon” (which means to excuse an offense without exacting penalty).
When you forgive someone, you are willing to let go of the offense and any and all resentment, and then to pardon or show mercy. When you choose not to forgive you are doing the exact opposite.
I’m going to share with you the harmful effects un-forgiveness can have on your life, along with reasons why you need to forgive and how to do it:
- It’s Alive: When you store un-forgiveness or resentment in your heart it is like a seed that grows whether you are conscious of it or not. It begins as anger, grows into resentment, and matures in bitterness.It begins to affect your mind and thoughts and how you view and treat others.
- It Spreads: As bitterness grows it hardens your heart and begins to spread into other areas of your life to where it eventually spills out of your mouth and can no longer be hidden from others.
- It Changes You: If filled with bitterness for a long period of time, you become a different person; you no longer enjoy the blessings in your life and you are filled with anger and cynicism towards life and people. You are a different person, one that is hard-hearted and hard to love.
So how we do we deal with this issue? How can we forgive when we don’t want to or don’t feel like it? If you are feeling this way you are not alone. When dealing with un-forgiveness regardless of how we feel, we need to see ourselves and our situation soberly in light of God’s Word.
Here are four reasons why we are to forgive:
1. Freedom: By forgiving the person or the situation, you are set free from the hurt and the pain of the past. You free yourself from its bondage and are able to move forward into your future.
2. Restoration: By forgiving, you are able to be restored back to where you were before the
incident happened, but with more strength and wisdom from the experience. You are no longer hindered or held back by the past but can walk restored and redeemed.
3. Healing: By forgiving, the Bible says your own healing comes speedily and you will be able to experience joy again. You are no longer bound by your suffering or pain, but delivered and healed.
4. Peace: The Bible says if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). In choosing not to forgive we are choosing to be disobedient to God and His Word and remain in sin. When you forgive, you not only have peace within your own heart but you have peace with God.
Take a moment and evaluate your life situation and ask yourself truthfully if you are struggling with un-forgiveness or bitterness and also look at how it has already affected you, your heart, your attitude, your point of view, and your treatment of others or yourself. If you see you are suffering from bitterness, then for your own good, I encourage you to seek forgiveness today and ask God to help you.
Here are five ways to help you forgive today:
1. Confess It to God: By confessing it to God you are acknowledging that you were indeed hurt by this situation or person, but you realize you need to forgive in spite of how you feel in order to be set-free, restored, healed, and no longer in sin.
2. Allow Him to Comfort You: By allowing God to comfort you, you are re-establishing your relationship with Him. If you have been estranged from Him and need to repent, confess that also and return to Him. God is a loving Father who waits for His children’s return. The Bible says that apart from God we can do nothing. We need Jesus in order for us to be restored and so that we may forgive others.
3. Forgive: This is where you take the step of faith and forgive. Remember what forgiveness means: To give up or cease to feel resentment, to grant relief from payment and/or to pardon, which means to excuse an offense without exacting penalty. Forgiving is also a willingness to put the matter in the past in order to move forward.
4. Let It Go: Once you have confessed it to God, and you have forgiven the person or situation in your heart, you can also ask God to help you let it go, and give it to God, allowing Him to take it from you. The Bible says to cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you. Letting it go is now a matter of faith.
5. Leave It There: Once you have forgiven by faith, let it go and release it to God. You must now also
leave it in His capable hands by faith. Trust God to take care of it and no longer worry or hold on to it, but release it over to Him once and for all.
The Bible says that once God forgives us for our sins He casts them as far as the east is from the west,
remembering them no more. Yes, for us it is easier said than done to forgive and forget; in fact, let’s be realistic - we usually don’t forget. Although God can forget our sins and remember them no more, we have a memory that most of the time won’t let us forget.
But what this is referring to is that our heart is no longer remembering the hurt as though it happened yesterday but healed from it to a place that when we think of what happened or the painful situation, our heart no longer hurts. When your heart has moved beyond the hurt and is in a place of restoration you may remember but no longer be in bondage to it; you are now set free.
This part of the process will take some time but if you truly are forgiving and letting go you will experience relief from the pain and hope to move forward in your life and situation with joy again to live the abundant life that God has planned for you.
Another word of advice is to seek out fellowship and accountability for your healing process. Talk to your spouse, a good friend, or church mentor to help you in your restoration process and continue to talk about it and allow God to comfort you during this process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but as you seek God through it, you will begin to receive the love He has for you and be restored.
If you are struggling with un-forgiveness or bitterness, seek Christ today and ask Him to help you release it to Him and follow the steps to let it go.
The next step should be reconciliation. Pray for wisdom and for God to give you the opportunity to be reconciled with the person(s) involved, if at all possible.
Remember that God is faithful and He will do it!
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” NKJV
1 John 1:8-10
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
Filoiann is a Pastor's Wife, Work at Home Mom, Woman's Biblical Counselor and Bible Teacher. Her work can be found on a number of home business and Christian websites and blogs. www.filoiannwiedenhoff.com