Forgiveness, it’s a melody that’s been prancing around me and a tune I’ve been humming for the past week. The song goes a little something like this:
“Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness” – Matt West
I won’t lie the first thoughts that came to my mind were those who have offended me and how difficult it is to forgive them. I couldn’t help but to also think how rare it is to come across someone who desperately wants to forgive those who have wronged them.
Honestly how bold is Matt West’s request!? He’s literally demanding God to provide him the opportunity to love the unlovable, the unreachable, to do the impossible and forgive! Matt did what a lot of us seem to struggle with and that’s letting go of a grudge, starving resentment, and moving forward in forgiving those who’ve offended us.
How many of you have that same fire as Matt? Are you just as hungry to push past unforgiveness and move forward in extending a peace-offering to your offender(s)?
Let’s take this up a notch in not focusing on what’s been done, said to or about you, but to ask you who are you extending forgiveness to. Is it a friend, a family member, or yourself? Did you catch that? I’ll say it again, HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOU?!
We are all guilty of offending someone by something we’ve said or done directly or indirectly and have received forgiveness–I hope. What many of us fail to realize is that forgiveness is not only extended to those who have offended you and I, but it is also available for you and I to extend to ourselves.
There are so many people who feel that they should walk in shame and regret even after they’ve been forgiven. Trust me I would know.
I felt like one of those unreachable, unlovable people who could not be redeemed from my misdeeds. “I can’t believe I said that. What was I thinking? If I were them I wouldn’t forgive me.” Time after time I found myself in a tug of war with condemnation.
It baffled me that even after being forgiven I still felt guilty. One of the reasons was because I hadn’t taken the time to ask myself for forgiveness. Isn’t that something, forgiving ourselves is rarely thought of and possibly one of the most difficult things to do?
Going without forgiving ourselves–to me at least–is like holding a grudge. It’s like saying we’ve received forgiveness from those we’ve offended, but there is nothing that can break the guilt and shame we may still be experiencing. There is nothing else that can be said or done. However, there is something just as powerful.
I believe that when we release ourselves from our hiccups, stumbles, and falls, forgiving ourselves is just as powerful as receiving it from someone else.
“It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you” – Matt West
Can we look at Philippians 3:13 really quick? Paul states, “Brothers and sisters I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” This verse can be viewed in a number of ways. My understanding is that not one of us is perfect, but we must come to terms with our deeds, let go, and forgive that of which that has been done in the past.
Lastly, it says to me let us move forward in doing and being better to those around us –and of equal importance, to ourselves.
No matter what you’ve done forgive yourself. They’ve forgiven you now it’s your turn.
Love your friend,