Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tangled up forgiveness freedom

Forgiveness. It has always sounded a bit trite to me - that forgiveness is for you, not to person you are forgiving. I have reminded myself of this thought many times. But, it just seems to lay there on the surface, never really moving into my soul. So you can imagine my thought as we began the journey along this chapter about forgiveness. ”Oh great”, I thought, “here we go…forgiveness…blah blah blah”.

Only…this time it was different. Wendy, and the words God has given her…they blew me out of the water. As I read through the chapter, one short sentence captivated me, “Forgiveness set her free”.

Forgiveness and freedom are stuck together like gum in your hair. They get all tangled up, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t separate them. There are too many strands that are binding them together.

What would be the point of Christ dying on the cross to forgive our sins, if it did not lead to freedom? They cannot be separated. His death equaled our life. His suffering equaled our freedom. It is impossible to live in bondage when you fully accept the truth of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

But what about when it comes to us forgiving other people?

You see, our forgiveness came with a price tag, the death of God’s one and only son. It was only dismissed because He paid the price. Now that just doesn’t make sense economically, the one who owed nothing paid the price for the one who owed everything. If anyone should have paid the price for sin, it was us, but we did not.

If anyone should have paid the price for Wendy’s rape, it was her rapist. But here’s the thing, God paid the price for her rapist as well. As much as it stings, his price has been paid, just as her price has been paid. And ultimately it’s up to us to accept the offering of forgiveness that He gives us.

Christ did not die out of something that He owed us. He did not owe anyone anything…but he loved us, so he set us free.

You do not owe the one who hurt you anything.

You do not owe God anything, the price He paid for your sin can never be repaid no matter what you do…it cannot be bought or earned.

But…you can spend years trapped in bondage of unforgiveness refusing to follow the example Christ has set for you and staking a claim in your own freedom but refusing to believe it is offered to anyone else. The problem with this arises when you realize that you are also refusing to let yourself go free.

The freedom message of the cross does not choose sides, it floods everyone. There is no wrong or right when it comes to forgiveness, it is love, it just is. It is because it needs to be. It chooses no exclusions, because true love unconditional love, covers all sin.

So how then do you forgive when your heart doesn’t feel the love? When all your heart feels is anger and hate? You choose to let go of the anger. You choose to let the punishment come when judgment comes, knowing that Christ has forgiven you, that you have been blessed with freedom, and that this freedom gift is not to be hoarded, no matter what the circumstances. You offer up your forgiveness as a peace offering you your Lord, not because it gets you into heaven, because it keeps you from living in your own private hell. Forgiveness, it really isn’t just for you, it is for everyone, it is what washes us clean, and it is entangled hopelessly to our freedom.


  1. I always felt that I was not forgiving the "right way". I am always trying to figure out if there is a formula to make sure I have forgiven

  2. Everything you have said is true. I have experienced it myself. Oh, the unforgiving spirit comes back to haunt me from time to time, but I choose to live in the freedom of forgiveness. While not always easy, one look at the cross seems to settle any battle seething inside me. Thanks for your post.

  3. Absolutely! I think that this particular truth was an "ah-ha!" moment for me. The night that I chose to forgive a group of people for years of pain in my life was also the very night that I experienced freedom from that pain.

    I also think that forgiving people is a process. It takes a concerted effort to say, yes, I forgive you. Sometimes you have to say it even if you don't necessarily believe it. You pray and ask God to give you the grace to give to others. Then you move forward everyday forgiving that personal all over again if need be. God is faithful--He will give you the grace to continue to forgive. And His freedom will begin to reign in your heart.

    Thank you for this post. I am having to forgive a particular person all over again, and it has been a hard couple of weeks for me. Your words have encouraged me today.

  4. This is a subject that I clearly need to address. As well as figure out who I have not forgiven. And I agree with Judi, that the unforgiving spirit comes back. Forgiveness is something I clearly need to address because it is something that when it comes up I pull away and skip over or don't think about it and it hits me right between the eyes. Maybe its me I really need to forgive. I will be thinking on this this week.

  5. I need to ready my heart for this. I know that I don't have a choice but to forgive. My options are getting smaller making my fear grow. Every where I go through this process the doors seem to close. It all points here, to forgivness!

  6. Amen! The line that hit me the most in this post was: "You do not owe the one who hurt you anything." Thank you for that reminder. I would appreciate prayers for me and my family right now as we are going through a rough period. God is faithful! His forgiveness is amazing!!!

  7. Thank you!! Your honesty set me free to receive the Truth about forgiveness that I've heard sooo many times before. One thing that has helped me start the process but am still pondering is that Christ so trusted His Father's desire to forgive his children that he declared forgiveness/healing even before His sacrifice was complete. Then applying that reality by using Christ's words on the cross of asking His Father to forgive and then agreeing with the Father's choice which seems a little less overwhelming. His Love expressed through forgiveness is so precious to this homesick daughter. Look forward to seeing ya'll someday at the mansion He is preparing for us. Blessings Renae

  8. Your posts always get me to thinking just a bit deeper....thank you!!!

  9. I had been through a study on forgiveness last year and come to grips with/forgave people for things that had happened to me in the past. This study has come at the perfect time because I am currently dealing with a situation where I have to forgive a person for something that is ongoing right now. As I read the chapter the first thing that God brought to mind was that I needed to forgive this person who is harassing and threatening my son. Forgiving him gave me the capacity to see the pain and hurt in his own life and to pray that he will find the healing he needs. Thank you!!

  10. forgiveness is a hard yet attainable task. You may have to go throught the process as often as you have the thoughts that remind you of the pain. I thought that once you forgive you forget: not true! As often as I remember the pain and dissapointment or act, I have to offer forgiveness to cleanse and release myself as well as the person. otherwise my thoughts take a direction of thier own. I love God and am grateful for this online study. I am seeing it thru Gods point of view so I can have joy where it appears (by others) that I should have a dark corner. How bad do we want to be free from the pain. We have to forgive. it is a continual thing so as often as you remember FORGIVE!

  11. Hi Stephanie. Thank you for your post. I loved when you said that offering up forgiveness is not to get you into heaven but to save you from your own living hell. How true is that. I do have a question regarding one of the study questions. Maybe it's because it's late and I'm tired, or maybe it's because I still don't truly understand forgiveness, but, in 3b. it says to contact the person you have been harboring unforgiveness towards and ask for their forgiveness. What exactly are we asking forgiveness for? For not forgiving them? I don't really understand that part? Am i missing something? What I struggle with is this....I think that i've forgiven a particular person for certain acts in the past...but then when a behavior comes up again, it's like all the hurt comes back and I get so upset and I think...."why am I reacting this way again? If I've forgiven her shouldn't I respond differently when her same behaviors occur again?" Then I wonder if I really truly forgave her in my heart. Hmmmm, I guess I'll take this question to God.

  12. Just wanted to comment on your post below - praise God that He is perfect so WE don't have to be!! Praying for you!