One day Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive a person who sins against him. “Up to seven times?” he asks. Peter wasn’t looking for a way to forgive; he was looking for a way to limit forgiveness. I have often asked myself what the worst thing is anyone has ever done to me that would make me feel like I could never forgive them. I am grateful that I have found there is really no trespass of any sorts against me that is so great that I would not forgive. I know how messed up I am, and I know how much I may offend others, giving me a need for their forgiveness, so I live towards others in a way that I want to be forgiving of anything and everything because others must live with me and my own shortcomings.
Still, you may ask, how can anyone be so sure they can forgive anything or anyone? Well, I have learned that it is easier to have a forgiving spirit than it is to forgive as an act towards others. I try not to take the things people do towards me personally. Scripture gives us the ultimate example of what it means to have a forgiving Spirit. In Luke 23:34 Jesus is on the cross about to die. He says to God, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Sometimes that personal person in me wonders why He didn’t say, “Father give them a taste of their own medicine”.
So, how is it that Jesus could not only forgive the people who killed Him, but He also could ask God our Father to forgive them as well? Well, just as Jesus doesn’t just love us—He is love, I believe Jesus doesn’t take things personally. He doesn’t just forgive; He is the Spirit of forgiveness. So then, how can you and I live in a forgiving way in a world where people do things that hurt us, harm us, or cause us pain, sometimes intentionally? Well, I believe we can best do that when we come to ask the Father for a Spirit of forgiveness which will keep us from taking personal the things people do to us.
I know just the thought of forgiving others for the harms they do to us can be difficult for us to even think about, especially when people do things to us over and again. But forgiving frees us while unforgiving binds us. When we are free we can move on, but when we are bound we will fight on. So, if you want to be free to live above the stuff that binds others, ask the Lord to help you learn to never take personal attacks on you personally. You will know that you have a Spirit of forgiveness when you :
- Learn to never take personal the things people do towards you—if you don’t take things personal then you won’t respond to others as if you are wounded by their acts;
- Learn to never be offended by the things people do towards you—if you are not offended then you will not be revengeful;
- Learn to use forgiveness to heal things that are broken—if you learn to heal you won’t further break things that need restoration;
- Learn to live as if you are a child—if you live as a child then God your Father will be there to protect and care for you;
- Learn that God has made you more perfect than you can imagine—if you remember God made you to be perfect, you will not allow the things people do toward you to reveal the small imperfections that God is still working to help you to overcome.
I don’t know what the most unforgivable thing is anyone has ever done towards you, but forgive that thing and person anyway. We are called to forgive, never to avenge. Learn never to take things personally, but instead make all things personal to God. No matter what others may say or do towards you, always remember that you are a child of God and that He will fight the battles you face if you get out of the way and allow Him to do so.
Like Jesus, let’s learn to ask God first to forgive others more than we fight with others because forgiveness is healing and restoring and freeing. Forgiveness frees you from the binding actions others place on you. Ask the Lord to give you a forgiving Spirit and others will know that you live in the power and Love of the Lord. When you learn not to take things personal, the Lord can make personal to Himself all the things that happen in your life. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.