The idea of forgiveness is one that is handled many times in the Bible. As sinful human beings, we need God’s forgiveness but sometimes it’s not easy to forgive others. So how do we learn how to forgive and move on?
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What Does It Mean To Forgive?
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When we are hurt or angry, we often want to make the person who hurt us feel the same way we do. We may plot our revenge or dream of ways to make them pay for what they had done. We may make the decision to cut that person out of our lives because of what they had done to us.
When we forgive, we cancel the debt we had ascribed to their account. We make a deliberate choice to release the hurt, anguish, anger, and thoughts of vengeance we have towards that person.
Learning How to Forgive and Move On
As Westerners, we are taught to “forgive and forget”. So much so that we sometimes believe that forgetting what someone has done is the same thing as forgiving them…at least until the next time we see or think of them and all the old feelings rise up again.
But forgiveness is a choice. It’s one that we may have to make many times before it sticks. We have to choose to let go of our anger and pain.
We have to choose to let go of thoughts of vengeance. We have to forgive and move on with our lives.
How to Forgive and Move On
The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness, going so far as to say if we refuse to forgive others, our Father will not forgive us of our sins (Matthew 6:15).
Because we know the benefits of God’s forgiveness, we now have to make a decision to forgive others so we can continue to bask in our Father’s presence.
Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself by Ruth Graham gives us some practical steps we can take as we learn how to forgive others.
Review of Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself
The ability to forgive is one that many people struggle with. This book by Ruth Graham is a comprehensive look at the process of forgiveness. According to the author, forgiveness is holy. Forgiveness is an opportunity to participate in the character of God.
Forgiveness is a process–one that takes time and effort from the person doing the forgiving. As Christians, we need to get beyond the point where we believe someone has to repent or ask for forgiveness before we forgive them.
Forgiveness is more about us that the person who wronged us. Forgiveness is a choice we make to move on with our lives.
Know God—the very character of God is one of holiness and forgiveness. When we know who God is, we understand his character and the sacrifice made by His Son. We are encouraged to spend time in the Word and in the presence of God so we can learn more about His character.
The more we know about God and choose to do those things which delight Him, the more we become like Him.
Know yourself—as Ms. Graham shared stories from her life, the reader is encouraged to do the same. Only through introspection will we be able to fully root out unforgiveness from our lives. The process is one we must commit to—not because of anyone else but because of our relationship with God and the benefits we receive from forgiving others.
Run your race—each of us has people that hurt us and whom we need to forgive. But the journey from unforgiveness to forgiveness may look different for each of us. Jesus chose to forgive humanity and die on the cross for our sins, so we have to complete the steps that lead to forgiving those who have hurt us.
I found this book to be well-written and easy to read. The author was transparent about her journey and encouraged us to be the same. I received a copy of Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself as part of the Baker Books blogger review program; a positive review was not required. Purchase your copy of Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself.
About Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself
Discover the transformative power of forgiveness
In her most vulnerable writing yet, Ruth Graham reveals how a visit to Angola Prison inspired her to release the unforgiveness lurking in her own heart—toward others, herself, and even her heavenly Father. Weaving her own personal experiences with biblical examples, she exposes what holds us back from forgiving others and ourselves–and what we gain when we finally discover the power to forgive. Along the way, she guides us into our own deeply personal experiences of forgiveness that will penetrate our protective walls and unleash true transformation in our lives.
About Ruth Graham
Ruth is a mother of three, grandmother to nine wonderful children from 17 years to 3 years. She is the president and founder of Ruth Graham Ministries.
The middle child born to Evangelist Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, Ruth says that being their child is part of what she is but not who she is. She has had her own faith journey that has been messy. She brings a message of hope, restoration, and joy.
What the Bible Says About Forgiveness
As we learn how to forgive and move on, we need to spend time in the Word reading and memorizing verses about forgiveness. Here are a few verses to get you started:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 ESV).
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25 ESV).
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:15 ESV).
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22 ESV).
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive (Colossians 3:13 ESV).
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses (Proverbs 10:12 ESV).
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV).
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all (Romans 12:17 ESV).
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:9 ESV).
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