How do we live with grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness in our lives when others hurt and despise us? We walk with Christ! Part of the Christian journey involves forgiving others and ourselves so that we can be free to love and serve others. This blog post will combine 5-6 min video presentations with written responses from Lysa Terkeurst’s Forgiving What you can’t Forget: Discover how to move on, make peace with painful memories, and create a life that’s beautiful again.
Part 1 Forgiveness is a Gift!
All quotes are from Lysa’s book unless otherwise noted
Those who cooperate most fully with forgiveness are those who dance most freely in the beauty of redemption. Pg. 10
Forgiveness is a process and requires daily work! As fallen people, we can choose to forgive others or remain trapped in a cycle of anger/cynicism.
I believe with all my heart forgiveness received and given is the very thing that splits this world open with the most stunning revelation of the reality of Jesus, more than anything else. pg 9
Forgiveness is a complicated grace that uncomplicates my blinding pain and helps me see beautiful again. pg 11
Hurt, cynicism, distrust, anger, and bitterness poison how we perceive our world and those around us. God’s grace sets us free the cycle of revenge and hatred that is prevalent in our dark world.
If healing hasn’t been worked out and forgiveness hasn’t been walked out, chaos is what will continue to play out. pg. 30
Being bitter shouldn’t be equated to being a bad person. It’s most often a sign that a person with great potential for good filled the emptiness of their losses with feelings that are natural but not helpful in times of grief. pg 178
That why processing grief is so important! We can grow into people who are more understanding, kind, and compassionate with others through our past painful experiences. By processing our pain and hurts, we can be more aware of those hurting around us and love them in Christ! Joseph is such a great example of this in Genesis when he forgave his brothers and realized that God was involved in his sufferings!
Paraphrase from quotes page 179
The more distance from the original source of our grief, the harder our hearts becomes. Lysa describes how you treat “difficult soil.” First you add small amount of water, wait for the water to move through out the soil. After a couple of days, you then dig up the harden soil and expose it before watering again.
God can “till” up our hardened hearts with His abounding grace and mercy. We need to strength to forgive others and ourselves! Hiding from the pain and disappointment makes the hurt worse and allow bitterness to grow!
All bitterness is corrosive. It eats away at our peace. And most of us aren’t making the connection that the heaviness and unsettledness that ebbs and flows in our lives is evidence of unforgiveness. pg 191
Praise God that He doesn’t leave us alone when we experience bitterness! God mercifully calls us to restoration and peace if we will head His voice! Sometimes we don’t recognize how deeply we are hurt until later. I have worked with sheet metal before and gotten multiple cuts and didn’t even realize it until later! The metal was so sharp that it cut my hands and arms without pain. Life can be the same way! Listen to your emotions and invite Holy Spirit to examine your thoughts and attitude(s). God will expose these “cuts” and bring healing–but expect that it will involve some pain and grief.
Jesus modeled forgiveness for us in His life, ministry, and death! The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that
“what the human heart needs every day: we need God, we need to be forgiven, and we need to forgive” pg. 210
Jesus didn’t just model forgiveness when He taught us to pray. It was the message of His life. And it was the declaration of His death as He uttered, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” But even more, it is the proclamation of every saved soul:”I am forgiven. Therefore, I must forgive.” pg. 220
If you are struggling with forgiveness, I would recommend reading Lysa’s book and taking time to reflect on the process of healing. During my reading, I had to stop and pray/work through some difficult/painful emotions. The mature way to handle our emotions is to acknowledge and prayerfully work through them. This will involve some deep soul searching and facing difficulties. Yet, God is faithful. I also recommend reaching out to a trusted mentor/pastor or professional counselor to help process the deeper hurts. Healing doesn’t come quickly or painlessly. I have been working through Lysa’s book for several months before I was able to write this blog. My journey of forgiveness is onging and will continue until God calls me home or returns.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, May God grant you wisdom, discernment, and courage in your journey of walking with God! My prayer and highest hope is that you will experience peace and hope as you forgive others and self! I write and speak these words as a fallen human who daily strives to be more like Christ in how I forgive and love others!