Welcome to Day 3 of the Freedom Through Forgiveness 5 Day Series designed to help hurting hearts heal. If you missed Part 1 you can find it here. Day 2 can be found through this link. Due to the 4th of July holiday, I've decided to run Days 4 and 5 next week; Monday, July 6 and Tuesday, July 7. The book giveaway will also be continued until Tuesday, July 7. A winner will be announced on Wednesday.
Today I'm sharing 8 common myths about forgiveness and then a brief synopsis of the truth. Making the choice to forgive is the right choice, but it's not always easy to do, especially when there are so many pre-conceived notions about what forgiveness looks like.
Debunking 8 Myths About Forgiveness
Truth: True forgiveness is an act of the heart despite throbbing physical, emotional, or mental pain. Jesus extended forgiveness to Roman soldiers amidst the pain they inflicted at his crucifixion.
Solutions for Pain:
- Confess your true feelings to the Lord
- Be honest with God about how you feel forgiving the person who hurt you.
- Trust God for His strength to sustain you so you can forgive the person.
Example of an honest talk with God:
"Lord, Dawn hurt me so much that I am not sure I will ever heal. I can't believe she said such hurtful things behind my back and then acted so nice to my face. Just the thought of her actions infuriates me. I never want to see her again! Having said all this, I refuse to let unforgiveness and bitterness become lord of my life. Father, give me the desire and strength to forgive Dawn. Conquer and rule me now, Lord. I will obey you. Thank you for hearing me."
Myth 2: Forgiving Is Forgetting
Truth: God forgives and chooses never to bring up our sin again (this is the idea of forget), yet this is not true for us. We forgive, even though we may never be able to erase the memory of the offense from our minds. Deep wounds caused by others require us to "continue" forgiving.
Solution: You can pray for the offender:
- Ask the Lord to direct your mind in how to pray for this person
- Sit still for a few moments and listen for the Lord's voice
- Pray the direction the Lord has given you (If you have not received specific direction then pray a promise of God's Word for the person)
Myth 3: Forgiving Is Ignoring Sin
Biblical forgiveness is the only solution to being sinned against. It is not biblical if it ignores the sin of another.
Truth: Jesus said, "So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him. The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!'" Luke 17:3-5
Solution: When sinned against we are to rebuke and restore. After repentance, we are to forgive no matter how many times a person sins against us in a day.
Myth 4: Forgiving means you excuse the offender's hurtful act.
Truth: Forgiveness is a response that seeks to redeem the hurt, not brush it off. An accidental "slip of the tongue" needs no forgiveness because it isn't deliberately caused. Intentional hurts need forgiveness. Forgiving the one who hurt you doesn't lessen the impact of the painful action. But forgiveness does unlock our own "prison" of bitterness.
Myth 5: Before forgiving, you must first understand why the offender hurt you.
Truth: Our human mind yearns to make all the confusing puzzle pieces fit together neatly before we forgive. However, the truth is we can forgive an offender even if we never discover the reasons for the inflicted pain. Author Philip Yancey writes in What's So Amazing About Grace, "Not to forgive imprisons me in the past and locks out all potential for change. I thus yield control to another, my enemy, and doom myself to suffer the consequences of the wrong."
Myth 6: Before forgiving the offender, you must feel forgiving.
Truth: Forgiveness has nothing to do with how you feel. You can feel hurt, betrayed, and angry, and still completely forgive the one who wounded you. Biblical forgiveness is an act of the will. It's a choice you make.
Can you still feel angry after you forgive? Yes! Anger means you're in touch with reality—it's part of being human. But be careful to aim that anger at what your offender did, not at the offender personally. Then let your anger push you toward justice.
Myth 7: Forgiving means the offender will face no consequences.
Truth: When we choose to forgive someone, our forgiveness doesn't "let him off the hook." Forgiveness also doesn't mean justice shouldn't be served. There are still consequences to the sin/crime. There is still the judicial system to answer to for crimes. And ultimately, offenders must answer to God. When we forgive the offender, we are setting ourselves free from the prison of bitterness and hate and transferring the offender into the hands of God who will deal with the guilty party.
Myth 8: When your offender is punished, you'll find closure.
Truth: We think we can more easily forgive others if they confess the crime and apologize for the pain they caused. Sadly, there's not always a confession and apology. If there's been a terrible crime committed, they will more than likely answer to the judicial system. But don't look to justice, imprisonment, or execution to bring needed closure and healing. Only God can bring that to you through your choice to forgive.
About the Book Giveaway
You will get one entry for each of the following you do:
1) Leave a comment below.
2) Sign up using the Linky Giveaway Tool below.
3) Promote it on your blog, FB, or Twitter, and link it the giveaway back to this post. (One entry for each place you promote it.) If you use the book photo above in your post, it should link back to here automatically.
There will be a Linky Giveaway Tool M-F. Feel free to enter each day. There will be new Freedom Through Forgiveness content each day.