Receiving God’s supernatural power to forgive.
Years ago, when I read the story of Corrie ten Boom, a former concentration camp survivor, I was deeply moved by the beauty of forgiveness. On one occasion after her release, she was speaking about the power of forgiveness when one of the Nazi guards that were responsible for causing her great suffering and her sister’s death, came forth and asked for her forgiveness. It was an extremely difficult choice for her but God supplied her with the necessary strength to extend her hand to this new brother in Christ. Since reading that, it seems that the opportunities to forgive in my life only intensified. It’s a hard lesson to learn and it seems to catch me off guard every time I am faced with the decision to forgive or not. To be honest with you, it’s been hard writing this post because of how sensitive this subject is. I would also like to say that I am always learning how to forgive and I don’t think anyone is an expert. The Bible tells us to forgive because we need to be forgiven. The Lord’s Prayer hides an often overlooked reality- we cannot ask for God’s forgiveness if we haven’t forgiven. I found this to be true in my life during a season where I felt like I simply couldn’t break free from an ongoing struggle. It took a long time to realise that it was because of unforgiveness that God was not answering my prayer in that area. When I brought my unforgiveness in the open, God was able to truly start working in my heart. Forgiveness is not easy but it is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit when we are willing to walk in obedience despite what we feel. When we choose to forgive it doesn’t mean that we take lightly the wrong that was done to us or that we will leave our heart unprotected against the person that wronged us. It rather means that we acknowledge that we have been hurt and that the person that caused it will have the chance to gain our trust and we will be willing to mend that relationship. Forgiveness doesn’t mean giving someone the silent treatment but rather entrusting our rights to the only One who is just and choosing kindness. It seems that the hardest offences to forgive are the ones that keep repeating, isn’t it? We know that Christ calls us to forgive as often as necessary and I believe He says that because He will supply us with the healing we need and the strength to extend forgiveness as often as necessary. God is merciful toward ourselves, even though we brutally wronged Him with our sins and we wrong others just like they wrong us. When we are willing to forgive, we become supernaturally empowered to do so and we are also closing the door to the enemy and opening the window of our soul towards heaven. Forgiveness is not easy but it is the most beautiful. It allows God to also forgive us. Corrie ten Boom was asked for forgiveness for the cruelties done to her and her sister and how powerful her story is. Maybe the person that wronged us will never ask for our forgiveness but let’s forgive anyways because God has forgiven us. Unforgiveness only breeds bitterness and resentment but what joy will be ours if we are willing to forgive!