The Healing Touch of Forgiveness
Words from Jesus
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“Forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”—Colossians 3:131
Forgiveness can seem humanly impossible, unreasonable, or illogical in cases where the hurt or grievance runs deep. For this reason, forgiveness can take supernatural love and perspective to do what seems humanly impossible.
One of the most powerful testimonies of the first Christians, that brought converts in by droves, was their forgiveness, their ability to face cruel and unjust deaths at the hands of their persecutors, and yet to forgive. The more cruelly their oppressors treated them, persecuted them, and harmed them, the stronger their faith and forgiveness blazed forth and set fires in the hearts of others.
This was a miracle of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, sent to heal their hearts and allow them to respond with supernatural love. Forgiveness and love are so much greater and more powerful than anything that can hurt or harm. Forgiveness can be an overpowering testimony of My love.
Forgiveness does not have to do with the circumstances, the gravity of the offense, or the attitude of the offender. When you are faced with the seemingly unforgivable, I know how hard it can be to believe that forgiveness is the miracle needed in the situation. If you have suffered a terrible tragedy, or someone dear to you has undergone the unthinkable, forgiveness probably isn’t the answer your mind is searching for, nor will you naturally feel that it will be the solution, bringing healing and closure and understanding.
Your heart is heavy and you feel it may never be light and joyful again, and it’s so hard to find hope or to understand why something so painful occurred. It’s hard to envision ever being whole again. Circumstances have been permanently altered, and the damage or hurt can’t be undone. A spouse that has died due to a drunken driver will not be in your arms again until you come home to be with Me; a loved one that was disabled due to the mistake of another will never be physically whole in this life; even a lost opportunity, a financial mess, lies or slander spread around that has permanently affected your life and opportunities—all of these are things that “sorry doesn’t fix.”
I know how difficult it is in these circumstances to see forgiveness as what is needed to heal the situation, because you know it won’t change the circumstances or turn back time. It won’t bring back a lost loved one; it won’t rewind the film of your life and undo what has happened or take away the suffering and possible long-term consequences.
Looking at it from that angle, forgiveness can seem to be only an exercise in obedience, something you do because you know that it’s your duty. I even instructed you to love those that hate you, to do good to those that persecute you.2 And yet, while you may start with a simple act of obedience, as you take that step you will find that forgiveness not only works in your heart to heal it from the hurt, wound, or burden, but it also restores life, hope, and joy.
Forgiveness will take the hurt, the tragedy, the harm, and the burden in your heart, and cover it with My healing balm. Your heart will not be the same as it was before the hurt, but it will become whole again, a stronger heart, filled with the secret joys and depth that forgiveness will bring.
Make the choice to forgive
“When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”—Mark 11:253
No amount of analyzing, sorting through right and wrong, attempting to tally up and apportion blame, nor the anguish of heart, the anger, or the bewilderment, will ever bring the answers your mind and heart seek. It will never be “right” enough; it will never be “fair” enough to bring the healing you need.
Healing comes through making the choice to forgive, for when you forgive, you are choosing to open your life to the miraculous healing of My love. Then I can come in and wash away the confusion, anger, grief, and anguish. As you choose to forgive, you are inviting Me in to begin the healing process in your heart, mind, and spirit.
This place of forgiveness is not a place you reach through waiting for time to work it out. In fact, time can work against you, as the longer your mind remains in a troubled, confused state, and the longer you harbor any resentment or anger toward another, the deeper the grooves in your spirit, and the more difficult it is to choose to forgive.
You can take the first step toward forgiveness by putting in My hands each and every troubled thought and emotion, any resentment, anger, anguish, confusion, and hopelessness. Take each thought and feeling that you are experiencing and place them in My hands—knowing that I will take care of them, that I will make all wrongs right, and that I will use every circumstance that touches your life as an instrument of good.
I’ve promised that they which love My Word would have great peace, and nothing would offend or stumble them.4 Claim that promise as your own, for it is your right to have great peace, no matter what circumstances come your way, no matter what hurts you experience.
Ask Me to help you forgive. Tell Me that you want to forgive, you choose to forgive. Don’t wait for a big feeling of relief or supernatural strength to come over you before you make the decision. Make the decision by faith. Choose to forgive, knowing that no matter how you feel, once you make the choice to forgive, I can begin to heal your spirit, and the gift of forgiveness can begin its miracle in your life.
Forgiveness is for you
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”—1 Peter 3:95
Even if the person who hurt you has never apologized or shown signs of being sorry for what he or she did, forgiveness is for you and for your heart and spirit. If you don’t allow My forgiveness to bring healing and closure, then your spirit will be wounded, your mind will remain troubled and confused, and your heart will not be made whole. You will become a victim of your circumstances rather than rising above through My miracle-working power.
Although it may not seem possible to reconcile forgiving those who do not seek forgiveness, remember that the ability to forgive is for you, so that you can find healing, closure, and peace in your life, regardless of the choices that others make or don’t make.
Your ability to forgive and rise above is a testimony of My love. If you make the choice to forgive, you will find that this “cross” can carry you to new heights, where you will be able to touch the lives of others and be a living testimony of My power.
Originally published August 2008. Adapted and republished June 2019.
Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Dooley.