Forgive Me

I read this quote recently, and it conjured up a variety of counterproductive emotions in me.

“I like to define forgiveness as ‘giving up the right to punish the one who has hurt you.’ That’s what Jesus did on the cross.”

-Jan Silvious

Wow.

I am sure other people dont do this, but I have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of punishing people for their transgressions against me.

I can remember doing it as a child.  If someone offended me or mistreated me I made it my unspoken mission to make them suffer as I had.

I used forgiveness as a weapon, a form of strategic manipulation in my ultimate battle to see who was the most ‘right’.

Thats very important to me you see… to be right.

When someone sought my forgiveness I had determined that it meant I was right.  They were wrong and I had won.

This distorted view of forgiveness has brought me to  disturbing conclusion.

I am wrong.

Over and over again, I am (was, is, have been) wrong.

Coming from someone who spent a lifetime trying to convince the world (and myself) that I am right, this is a horrific admission.

I read an excerpt from my Bible on forgiveness:

“Love is the prime ingredient in forgiveness.  Often the one wounded must forgive with an act of the will, giving time for working through feelings and experiencing healing.  Forgiveness comes with the removal of past offenses from the mind, followed by meditation on Scripture, giving over to God our hurts, praying for the offender, and serving as a willing channel for God’s grace.

…Forgiveness is the willingness to search for new solutions. (not mine or yours, but a new mutually acceptable way)

You must use words that do not cast blame or create questions.  You must be concerned with seeking forgiveness only for your wrong.  You must remember that a forgiving attitude does not excuse self, defend self, or accuse another.”

(emphasis mine)

I love the transparent and authentic forgiveness that is God’s perfect design.  His recipe is flawless.  His way ideal.

I have been on a mission to seek forgiveness from everyone that I have wronged.  (and shamefully, the list is long)  Some have offered me mercy, some have not.  Some hurts run deeper then others.

What I am learning is that through forgiveness, I am truly finding out what mercy is.

“Seeking forgiveness frees you to receive Gods mercy.”  (from my Bible, ‘The Womens Study Bible’)

And after I try to amend the wrongs I have done on this earth, I can lay them all at the feet of Jesus, and he wipes the slate clean.

Now, my responsibility doesn’t end!  I must seek to change my behavior!  To learn from my errors.

But He doesnt hold them over my head… He doesnt whisper in my ear, “You dont deserve this joy Amanda, remember that one time you did that bad thing?”

He whispers, “I forgive you.  I forgive you.  I forgive you.  You are forgiven.”

Comments

  1. Joy Ellis says

    yes, you are forgiven. Do not punish yourself. You are turning the wrong into a right! God loves you!! This is just an awesome post. Thank you for sharing from your heart…*hugs* to you!!

  2. says

    “You must remember that a forgiving attitude does not excuse self, defend self, or accuse another.”
    Wow, yeah, that’s good, in a deep, hard, in-your-face-painful kind of way… and by your face, I pretty much meant my face…

  3. says

    What a great post. I struggle with letting go and truly forgiving. I read somewhere once that forgiving isn’t excusing what hurt you, it’s giving you permission to move past it. (or something to that effect)

  4. says

    Isn’t it a blessing that when we go to make an amends and expect the “executioners axe” to come down (because often that is our response to someone who has wronged us) that instead we often feel that healing touch of grace.
    And I have found that when I forgive others it is an act more for me than the other person….I am, like you said, giving up my “right” to seek revenge and continue being angry.
    I can be the queen of resentments but I love the saying that by my holding a resentment I am drinking the “poison” and expecting the other person to “die”….powerful stuff because it is so true!
    There is freedom in forgiveness and I am so grateful that Christ has given us the perfect example to learn from!! Thanks for the post….what a great reminder for today!
    Blessings, Kristin

  5. Liz says

    I have chosen to forgive those that have transgressed against me in some pretty big ways and I have chosen to forgive myself for some pretty bad choices I’ve made that have life-long consequences. And you know what? It’s a daily choice to accept God’s grace and to give it away as I have been given it. This is the second blog post I’ve read today that mentions this topic in one way or another. I do have a situation that I am dealing with right now that is breaking my heart but I can’t change anything so I just have to let go and forgive and continue to offer grace in the midst of my pain. Well, now that I have cast such a downer in your comment section, have a great day and enjoy the sunshine! I know I will!

  6. says

    So beautiful, Amanda! I, too, love to be right and it is easy to try to get back at someone or only forgive people who ask for forgiveness and show remorse. It is so much harder to extend forgiveness to those who don’t want it, don’t feel they need it– to give up our own rights and forgive simply because we are showing the love of Christ.

  7. says

    You are so not alone in wanting to be right. I’m not sure if I told you this or not, but I once told a friend of mine in college that part of the reason I liked being a Christian was that I kneww i was right. How horrible is that?

  8. Nellie says

    Beautifully written and so true of me, myself and I!
    Thank you for being such a wonderfully authentic woman – your words and actions inspire me to be a better, loving and more faithful child of God.

  9. says

    Realizing that we have hurt someone with our words or actions or lack thereof is the first step towards reconciliation. Being truly sorry, asking for forgiveness and making amends either in words or actions is the second. Being able to forgive ourselves is the third and most difficult and in my mind, that is where God really comes in. HE never promised us an easy road through this life but he did promise us that through him and with him we will find our way. One of my favourite sayings is that life is like riding a tandem bike. God is always at the front while we peddle like mad at the back to keep up.
    I liked your post.

  10. says

    I read about forgiveness, listened to sermons about it, agreed that it was a good and necessary thing. But I never thought it really applied to me. That is, I never felt as though anyone had ‘wronged’ me to the extent that I was harboring un-forgiveness toward them.
    Until recently.
    God showed me I needed to forgive my mother for, well, for not being who I wish she was. I was harboring resentment toward my mother because of who she is. How unfair is that???
    Anyway, He’s working in my heart about it still. And I am so thankful. Refining isn’t easy. But it’s a good thing.
    Love you!

  11. says

    I read about forgiveness, listened to sermons about it, agreed that it was a good and necessary thing. But I never thought it really applied to me. That is, I never felt as though anyone had ‘wronged’ me to the extent that I was harboring un-forgiveness toward them.
    Until recently.
    God showed me I needed to forgive my mother for, well, for not being who I wish she was. I was harboring resentment toward my mother because of who she is. How unfair is that???
    Anyway, He’s working in my heart about it still. And I am so thankful. Refining isn’t easy. But it’s a good thing.
    Love you!

  12. tracie says

    Wow..what a great post. I admire you for seeing yourself in a true light…most people can’t. I love that your blog has gone back to a more personal you, by the way.

  13. says

    I always have to go back and remind myself that if God can forgive ME, then I ought to be able to forgive EVERY one else. That and it’s not my job to “get even” – they will have to deal with what they did with their life some day, just as I will have to sit at the feet of Jesus and give account of how I lived MY life.

  14. Amy says

    Amanda, I’m so glad you had comments on this post….thank you for this…I really needed this reminder today!
    That quote really spoke to my heart.
    Many blessings to you.

  15. says

    Oh, Amanda. You break my heart with your sweet words reminding me of how I should forgive. Of course, your Father has forgiven your every sin even if those you have wronged have not. You are free from blame and there’s no need to worry about them anymore.
    Extending forgiveness to those who’ve wronged you… that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and continue to do. I’ve failed in the last part – not casting blame and removing the past offenses from the mind. Especially when the offenses don’t stop – but I have to keep reminding myself how many times I should forgive. While forgiveness does not excuse the behaviour, the forgiveness is more for the healing of ones own soul then it is for the one who continues to offend.

  16. Liz says

    I read your blog from time to time…although not as often as I’d like. I am a newly single mom to two small boys and just don’t have tons of time.
    BUT I stumbled across this today and truly feel like I was sent to it. I am struggling right now with being the better person…and wrestling with wanting to do something petty and vindictive to my ex. And then I saw the quote that you posted about forgiveness…and it spoke volumes to me. And I am happy to say that the need to be vindictive is gone. Thank you! OUt of the blue and unexpectedly you helped a stranger today.

  17. says

    This is so true! I have always had a hard time with this but my daughter has opened my eyes to real forgiveness. She has been bullied at school to an extreme, yet was the first one to pray at the dinner table for these kids who have hurt her so bad. She is only 11, yet stood up to 2 of the girls the other day and told them ” I am sorry for what you are going through but could you please leave me alone.” I have never been the best at this myself but try to work on this. Thank you for such a great reminder! I am so thankful how much God loves everyone of us, no matter what are faults are!

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