Summary: Big Idea: Forgiveness is healing the wound, even if it leaves a scar. Forgiving others means choosing not to be imprisoned by the actions of our offender. Jesus will heal our wound, but the scar remains to remind us of God’s work of grace in our lives.
STORY: Last year, you all know I had shoulder surgery. I didn’t want to have surgery. I avoided it as long as possible. But eventually, my shoulder hurt all the time. It became debilitating. It was only when I became aware of what my wound was keeping me from, was I willing to do something take a risk that would open up the wound, so healing could be possible.
Emotional wounds are similar...when we are hurt, we’d rather run from the pain than do something about it. Sometimes, we aren’t aware that we have a wound that is causing an issue...and we are suffering through anger, or disconnection from God, or numbness in our hearts...we don’t know what the problem is...but maybe, just maybe its a wound that needs the God’s healing touch through the act of forgiving.
Forgiveness is like that...it’s a tough subject. It's one thing to say “I forgive” – but it’s a whole different thing to actually feel the healing that comes because we have forgiven someone. Forgiving others really is a supernatural work in which God’s healing grace intersects with our wounds. But what happens when we forgive, but we can’t seem to forget? Can Jesus heal a wound that is too great to simply forget?
This is often where we get stuck. We circle up the wagons in our mind and replay that hurt, over and over. We focus on the pain, but we don’t bring it into the healing presence of Christ through the act of forgiveness. What’s the result?
No intimacy with God, and isolation from others. Constant heartache. Anger. Bitterness.
This month, our goal is to help you see that forgiving someone is not so much about your offender. It is about your healing. In fact, the next few weeks we will help you discover healing, and protect your heart.
Today, Let’s talk about forgiveness as an act of healing..here’s what we mean: we want to talk about the supernatural act of “Forgiving even if there is not a restoration of the relationship. It is forgiving those who might refuse reconciliation, or not be trustworthy enough for reconciliation in such a way that in our hearts we have chosen to overlook our experiences with them.”
Before we talk about what what it looks like to forgive, let’s talk about what we are NOT talking about.
Forgiving is NOT…
First, let’s clear up misunderstandings about forgiveness by understanding what Forgiving IS NOT. Sometimes, when we shackle too many actions and feelings to forgiveness, it becomes too weighty for us to try and handle. Let’s lighten the load before we define it clearly.
Reconciling: 2 Cor. 5:19 – Forgiveness happened at the cross, but reconciliation still depends on the individual relationship with God. Remember from last week: It is easy to think we should wait for our offender to be repentant before we offer forgiveness, but repentance is not a condition of giving forgiveness, but a condition of receiving it.
Denying: Denying leads to repression…which is almost always negative…but also natural. We repress because something is to painful to face on our own. (1 Cor. 13:5 – doesn’t mean a wrong has not been committed…or that we turn a blind eye to it. Greek: logizomai – meaning “to reckon or impute”…in other words, ‘love does not STORE a wrong’.)
Forgetting: “Forgive and forget”…people mean that ideal forgiveness is where we wipe out the memory of the event from our minds...and pretend it never happened. It would be nice…it's much more likely we’ll forget why we came in the room than forget our hurt! This is not realistic. Hebrews 8:12 – God doesn’t literally forget our sins – He CHOOSES to overlook them. He knows full well what we’ve done in detail…but He chooses NOT to dwell on them so as not to hold them against us.
Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is healing.
Forgiving someone is how we find healing. Listen closely because this is totally counter-intuitive. Until you release your offender, and you stop poking at your wound...until your focus is not on your pain, but on releasing your pain to Jesus...you can’t experience healing.
We talked about this last week. This is counter-intuitive. The person who can heal your wound of that offense is not your offender! It’s Jesus. It’s forgiveness, not justice that brings the healing power of Jesus.
Forgiving your offender, is not about your offender. Forgiving your offender is about your healing!
So, let’s talk about 2 important choices can begin our journey to forgive and find healing. I’ll warn you, it’s filled with difficult choices, but I in my experience each one is worth the healing Jesus brings afterwards.