Hey, how are you? Coach Chris with criticalbench.com and I want to share with you something that makes most of us very uncomfortable. I know it makes me uncomfortable. It’s forgiveness. Most of us—I know I struggle with forgiveness because when it comes to—it’s letting go and often times we are so emotionally connected to our past that we just can’t let go. And so this topic is something that really struck me at a church service months and months ago, but I never forgot that service and I actually kept notes on it. So I’ll read to you some of the notes from that.
I go to Grace Family Church down here in Florida and I just love the messages every week and the pastors are so amazing and whether you go to church or you don’t, whether you have a strong faith or you don’t, this is just about better ways to live your life, if I can really just get simple with it, and the reason why all of us should find forgiveness, why you personally should forgive people. The forgiveness side of it isn’t for others; it’s for your own benefit.
Most of us struggle with things that we’ve dealt with when we were younger, when we were kids, young adults or maybe in our 20s or 30s and obviously often times it’s people that we’re very close with that we maybe are still close with but maybe there’s some underlying thing there that we just never allowed ourselves to get over that we still struggle with, that we still fight with internally that maybe we don’t even talk to that person about anymore. But it’s still there and still eats away at us.
I have some really interesting points here that I want to share with you. I’ll share this first verse here. It’s says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body. Jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” That’s Proverbs 14:30 and how true is that statement? Again, whether you are a religious person or you are not, these messages that I am sharing with people are to benefit all people, people with faith or people that really just have no interest maybe in going to church on Sundays. These are life-changing messages that can shift your thinking or change the way you approach your life.
A lot of us that live with this, whether it’s jealousy or this negative feeling that we have about a certain incident in our past or about something that happened with another person, that can eat away at us. And it’s only in our best interest to get over this. It’s for our own health.
Another passage: “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.” So very, very similar. It’s just deep down in our gut, in our soul, if we cannot allow ourselves to get over stuff, to get past these past events, we’ll always struggle with it and it will always be something that just kind of rots away at us, at our core.
Forgiveness is about you and your heart, not the other person. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to restore the relationship. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that you even need to try and get that relationship maybe back to where it once was. It’s about you just being okay with what happened and allowing yourself to get over it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget, but it no longer hurts, or at least it doesn’t hurt like it might currently.
People will say, well, then why should I forgive? Or sorry, who should I forgive? I’ve already told you why this is so helpful, but who. So the types of people that you should forgive: those who are unaware that they’ve even hurt you. Think about that. How many times in life were you in a situation maybe where you were really hurt, but the person that was the cause of that pain or that hurt didn’t even know that that was something that was happening to you. Right?
Jesus said—I’m going to just read some more stuff here, some more scripture. “Father forgive me for they don’t know what they are doing.” Often times we go through life and we act a certain way, we say certain things and we really aren’t coming from a place of anger or trying to be mean or cause pain or hurt to others, but maybe it’s received that way. So the best thing to do, who should I forgive, sometimes we just need to be okay with something that someone said or did just for our own benefit, just get over it. Get passed it. Don’t allow it to hold you down and cause you pain, cause you suffering. Let it go. Move on.
Some other people that you should forgive: your enemies, those who are unaware that they have hurt you, which I have already said, those who are dead. How many people hold grudges, people that have passed away and there’s obviously nothing there that can be done with that person anymore, but you just have to allow yourself to get over it.
I mean, I hold things in. My father passed away 13 years ago and I had at times a very difficult childhood. My father was an alcoholic and a severe disciplinarian. He was the oldest of four boys and was very, very difficult to live with. I was the youngest of three boys and so my brothers kind of acted like a shield for me quite often in my life, but it doesn’t mean that I still didn’t deal with a pretty darn hard emotional and physically abusive dad. Thank God for my brothers and my mother, but those scars lasted and I still deal with certain things there and my dad’s been dead for 13 years.
Who else should you forgive? How about those who don’t deserve it? How hard is that? And those who haven’t apologized. Again, we allow things to burden us and eat away at us and it’s people that we maybe have expectations that one day this person is just going to wake up and feel bad and finally apologize. But we don’t know if that day will ever come. So are we going to allow ourselves just to stew and to suffer from that when if we just let it go we can just move on with our life, whether we continue to have a relationship with that person or not.
Here’s a longer passage that I want to share with you about how should I forgive. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do because you are his dear children.” So what a nice message, again, whether you’re a Christian or you’re not, how can you find fault with stuff like this when it says to be kind to each other, be more tender hearted, forgiving one another. Let go of all that bitterness and that rage and that stuff because it does you no good holding onto that. It really doesn’t. I don’t see any benefit in holding onto stuff that all it’s going to do is bog you down, have that negativity kind of in your being and the best thing you can do is to let it go, forgive that person for that experience, for those words, for those actions, and just be able to move on. All it’s going to do is allow you to live a better, healthier life going forward.
Ultimately, remembering God’s amazing forgiveness for our sins. How does God forgive us? Unconditionally, number one, when we don’t deserve it. Daily and he doesn’t keep score. I mean, these are good ways to live your life. Forgive people when they don’t deserve it, do it on a daily basis, love people unconditionally and don’t necessarily keep score in life. People who are scorekeepers, it’s not a good way to go about your life at all. Forgiveness is a decision. Forgiving is something you do before you feel like it. So the power to forgive comes when we experience God’s forgiveness. Refusing to forgive is holding others to a standard you cannot keep. Forgiveness isn’t denying what happened. And the most Christ-like thing you can do is to forgive. Out of all the ways that we can try to live a perfect life, to be the best people we can be, the number one way to be like that is to forgive other people and to be more tender hearted and to be more loving and to just let go of those past—we’re all fallible. We’re all liars and we all say things that we shouldn’t have or that we regret. We’ll do things that we shouldn’t do, that we feel bad about. We hurt people that we love just because we get angry. I know I have trouble with that.
So that’s just my message, is this really touched me and I’ve thought about it more than one time and this has been sitting on our board in our kitchen for like six months and I look at it quite often and it’s just a really powerful message and I think you need to allow yourself to forgive the people in your life who are maybe hurting you right here on a regular basis, even subconsciously. You don’t even realize it, but you know from time to time it just kind of shows its face and pops up and it’s just no way to live. The best thing you can do is just let go and you’ll feel so much better and just start fresh with a clean slate and I hope you give this a try and think about it, consider it. Make a list maybe of the people that you know you need to forgive to be able to get passed the past.
Again, I thank the amazing pastors, Pastor Matt, Pastor Craig, at Grace Family Church for this amazing message. I love that I have the ability to share my thoughts and feelings about this message, how it impacts my life and how it might be able to impact yours and make your life a little bit better.