Forgiveness and the Benefits

Forgiveness and the Benefits of Forgiving

The Oxford Dictionary defines to “forgive” as to no longer feel angry about or wish to punish another for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

The world (and, probably predictably, Satanic literature) teaches us to do unto others not as you would have them do unto you, but as they actually do to you. Thus, if a person treats you with kindness, the world would say to go ahead and treat them kindly.  But if a person treats you wrong, then exact your vengeance!  Don’t get mad, get even! Obviously, this thinking is clearly contrary to what God wants for his children. Like many principles, biblical teaching on forgiveness sets the world on its head.  As you may recall, the Bible teaches us in Matthew 7:12 what is known everywhere as the Golden Rule:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Now if God in the flesh tells me that something sums up all of the collected writings of His word until that time, I think I’d certainly pay attention.  It’s like a teacher telling you what’s going to be on the test!  It’s a rule based on love and empathy, and it’s really pretty simple.  All it requires is for us to think about how we’d like to be treated in any particular situation, and then to treat others the same way.  There’s no exception for those who treat us badly or would want to wish ill will on us.  There’s no gray area.  It’s pretty straightforward – do to/for others what you would want them to do to/for you. And that includes forgiveness.  You would want people to forgive you, and so you should forgive them, too.  Indeed, the Bible clearly states, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col. 3-13.

Mary Fairchild writes that “forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive.” So it’s not always easy.  But like all matters of obedience to God’s commands, forgiving others leads to spiritual benefits and blessings.  Obedience pleases the Lord, and the Lord promises blessings on those who please Him, so remember this fundamental point: the act of forgiveness is NOT about the person who has hurt us; rather, it’s about OUR obedience to God.

So the act of forgiveness is primarily about remembering how we’ve been forgiven and treated by our Lord.  We have been fully forgiven, with nothing we can do or could have done on our own to give us righteousness before God.  Only the forgiving blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross could bring salvation.  We’re freed from our sin and forgiven by Jesus’ actions, and for that reason we have a duty to forgive others.  Remember that people who hurt us have no idea who they’re dealing with.  We are royalty – heirs to the kingdom of God – forgiven and righteous before God – personal temples of the Holy Spirit!  Are we perfect?  No.  Do we hurt others, sometimes?  Yes.  Do we desire to be forgiven by others and our God?  Absolutely!  Is forgiving easy?  No, but we have the three best tools available to handle this sometimes difficult task: (1) the promises of the Father; (2) the death and resurrection of Jesus; and (3) the Holy Spirit within us!  When we admit that we’re unable to forgive on our own, we can allow God to work in us to accomplish true forgiveness and reap the benefits of our obedience, including a rich and abundant life as well as eternal life with God after our deaths.

God also commands us not to take revenge for that’s not our job or responsibility. Romans 12:19 states:

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

You might not realize it, but this scripture, along with the Golden Rule, above, is crucial to walking in forgiveness.  When we treat others kindly and let God work His justice to those that hurt us, life gets much, much easier.  We don’t need to worry about getting even and to waste our time and effort plotting against our offender.  The literal devil is in the details however, so I’ve found that it’s good to run real-life scenarios in my head to see how this all plays out. For example, if my boss says something hurtful to me, I could easily feel angry and try to do something to show his/her mean spirited nature to others.  Or . . . I could think about how I would feel and want to be treated in the same situation.  What if I had said the same thing?  Would I even know that I hurt someone’s feelings?  Then I would pray for my boss, forgiving him before God (but maybe also asking for truth and light to help my boss see what he has done through the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and then I let God sort it all out after that.

In addition to the numerous blessings you will enjoy from simply obeying God’s commands (search for “blessings for obeying God’s Word” on your computer for a sampling), forgiving others also positions you to lead healthy and peaceful lives.

Healthy Lives

When our attention is focused on a hurtful situation, we aren’t able to keep our focus on the Lord.  Remember that our God is a jealous God and He wants our full attention on Him.  When we are focused on other things, like anger, we aren’t in a position to see and receive the blessings He has ready for us, including good health.  Refusing to forgive someone is a sin that consumes emotion, attention, and healthy energy.

In the natural, there are many studies showing that stress and negative emotions contribute to illnesses in our bodies, and a refusal to forgive creates a very stressful negative energy.  There are very few things in life that we can control, but we can at least control our actions that affect the health of our earthly and spiritual bodies.  Controlling our un-forgiveness is one of those things.  We have a choice of whether or not to forgive someone.  We can choose to keep the hurt and un-forgiveness in our body, or we can choose to forgive and let God sort out the rest.

I firmly believe that holding un-forgiveness toward someone really does most of its damage to the person who can’t forgive, no matter how many ways that person can think of “getting even.”  Often, the one who slights you has no clue, and sitting around thinking about it all the time is slowly eating away at your potential for an abundant life. It’s like drinking a poison and expecting somebody else to die – harboring un-forgiveness is basically choosing death.  Don’t do it!  CHOOSE LIFE!  Ask God to help you work through your un-forgiveness!  Step into health and the fullness of the blessings that God has ready for you!

Peaceful Lives

Peace is one blessing that’s always available to us.  In fact, did you know that we could have peace in every situation at every moment of every day?  In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Notice that he gives us HIS peace, not just generic peace or any other kind of peace – HIS peace!  What does this mean?  It means that we can walk in the same peace that Jesus had every day.  You might ask, “How can I do this when my life is a crazy, stressful whirlwind?”  Well, forgetting for the moment that Jesus’s life was probably a bit more stressful than any of our own, we know that we can have this peace by following the instructions in the Bible, including the instruction to forgive others.  We may not have peace at the moment of the hurtful act (or even immediately after), but we can CHOOSE to have peace in our healing process by simply choosing to forgive.

Jesus also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Most people look at this blessing as one reserved for people who make peace among other folks.  But I think it also applies to making peace in your own mind by forgiving others and by asking God to sort it all out later.  Part of being a peacemaker is to let go of the things that taint relationships, especially those caused by un-forgiveness.

In sum, walking in forgiveness involves obedience to God’s command that we treat others as we would have them treat us, and that we leave vengeance up to our Heavenly Father.  We forgive others because God specifically commands us to, and because doing so shows God (and others) our love for Him and His creation. We obey because doing God’s will bring us closer to Him. And from this obedience flow the benefits and blessings promised in the Bible, including healthy and peaceful lives

Next we will discuss the woundedness and how to recognize unforgiveness within our hearts.

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9 Responses to “Forgiveness and the Benefits”


  1. 1 australia onesies August 26, 2013 at 2:39 am

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you
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  2. 2 Lilian E January 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you Denise for giving us the opportunity to read and keep on learning the ways through/to the Lord, as well as sharing with others, at any time, any where. Your blog is timely and needed. Thank be to God for providing us with such a loyal, faithful, obedient and hard working sister.
    I love you and appreciate you as big as the sky.

    Lilian

  3. 4 Tim Schnacke January 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    It seems easy, but when you really try it you can see how difficult true forgiveness is. I think empathy — as manifested in the Golden Rule — is probably the key. Can you imagine how much God really does love and understand us, given that He forgives us all for everything?

    Tim

    • 5 Arming The Saints January 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Tim,

      You are so right! It is hard to fathom just HOW much God loves us. The fact is, that he sent His only Son to die for all of OUR sins and restore our eternal salvation. Since He has already forgiven us, we have a obligation to forgive others. Jesus tells us that we need to forgive when He told us how to pray in the Lord’s prayer by saying “…forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” In essence, since we are already forgiven for every sin, we must pay this forward and forgive others for everything! Believe me, I know forgiveness is hard for our flesh!

      Denise

  4. 6 Don Schnacke January 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Denise;

    I’m glad you chose forgiveness as a first posting. It’s a huge issue for me, and I have to be reminded to walk in forgiveness daily.

    Keep them coming!

    Don
    Topeka, Kansas

    • 7 Arming The Saints January 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Thank you Don! I admit that this is a daily walk with me too! Our world gives us many opportunities to keep perfecting forgiveness. Keep your eyes on the Lord and He will lead you through this!

      Denise

  5. 8 Dema January 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Denise,
    Thank you so much for the amazing teachings that you have provided to us. They have been such a great help to me, your writing is easy reading and led by the Holy Spirit. I pray the Lord will continue to open doors for you to share the great gift he has blessed you with.

    Dema~

    • 9 Arming The Saints January 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Dema,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and blessings. I am so grateful that your are blessed by our notes. I know how much of a blessing you are to others too! Keep your heart and eyes on Him!

      Denise


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