With Thanksgiving coming up I thought we would have a discussion about something that I’ve found everyone struggles with. Forgiveness. You may even have someone that comes to mind. 

Even as I mentioned the word, Forgiveness, you already have a picture in your mind of what that looks like. Even if you don’t, That’s okay, Most of us don’t have an accurate picture of what true forgiveness is anyway. You’re listening to Living the Freedom Life Podcast Ep# 71 and we are starting a new series on Forgiveness.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be the prerequisite to the happiest time of the year, we have more data and proof that we are heading into the most stressful time of year. With Thanksgiving approaching and travel, We’ve been dealing with covid-19 for so long now, that’s enough to stress anyone out. 

I don’t know about you, but I want to travel for the holidays just to get away SOMEWHERE. Now people are trying to put restrictions on how we gather with family for the holidays. Not to mention any family grievances, pent up feelings, sorrows and just downright wounds that this time of year reminds us of, thrusting those memories to the forefront as if we are re-living them just by driving down that old familiar driveway.

This is a stressful time and, it’s filled with, well, unforgiveness. 

Unforgiveness is a big deal. In fact, the Bible talks a lot about this. 

Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing”

Luke 6:37 Don’t hold unforgiveness so that you will be forgiven. 

Eph 4:32 Paul instructs us to forgive others, just as we have been forgiven

Mark 11:25 Says that even if we hold unforgiveness in our heart, it will hinder our worship and prayer. We are to take care of that first, then we can go worship.

So, scripturally speaking, there’s a lot of pressure put on forgiving others. We can easily interpret this as, we better know how to do it and do it completely or it will not be done for us. 

I don’t mean to get legalistic on you, but this does sound like a requirement. Forgiveness is a pretty big deal, and it’s probably the number one issue that I run across with my coaching clients. So, if you struggle with forgiveness please understand, you are not alone. 

That’s why I wanted to begin this series on forgiveness during this time of year. Because usually we hold unforgiveness towards the ones we love the most, and that’s usually family. Thanksgiving is not always a happy time, we don’t have the Norman Rockwell picturesque type of Thanksgiving, especially in 2020. Thanks covid-19. And just for the record, yes, I was being sarcastic. And I do listen to my own podcast, by the way.

You’ve probably already heard this, but Harboring unforgiveness in your heart is like “Drinking poison and wanting it to affect someone else”. As absurd as that sounds, that’s what a lot of us believe. And I’m here to tell you today, that Speck of unforgiveness is like Darkness invading your heart. It’s like a seed of Darkness that will grow. And God doesn’t want that for you. He doesn’t want that for me. 

I want to share with you a couple of First Step exercises to begin the Forgiveness process. And yes, it is a process. How many of you know that you can’t unsee something? I know, there are times where that would be awesome. Anyway, forgiveness is a process, And forgiving someone challenges the way we see that person. 

As much as I wished, you can’t snap your fingers and instantly forgive someone. That’s just religion, most any way you slice it. That may be acceptance, but it’s not forgiveness. 

I’m sure you already know this about me, but I’m a follower of Jesus. That means I follow him, which means I study what he did, how he did things, and why he did them.

Well, as it turns out, he gives us a pretty good and extreme example of the beginning stages of forgiveness on the Human side of things. 

(Yes, to you theologians out there, that is the Human side of Jesus, not the Deity side of Him, God does instantly forgive, because he knows no time and therefore that process happens in an instant. There is still a process to Forgiveness.) 

You know the story, at the height of his pain and agony, after he has been humiliated, beaten, stabbed and everything else, that’s when he musters the statement “Father, Forgive them, they don’t know…” 

Here are three things I would like to call to your attention:

  1. They don’t know, understand, comprehend ~ the same as you. 
    1. This has nothing to do with intelligence, it has everything to do with uniqueness and choices. One is not better than the other, they just don’t know, understand or comprehend the same as you. 
    2. Why then, would you not forgive them?
  2. They don’t feel, see, hear ~ the same as you.
    1. Our senses are how we interpret the world. How we interpret the world depends on our choices and how we interact with it. They don’t feel, see and hear the same as you. 
    2. Remember, unforgiveness is like a dark seed in your heart. 
    3. Why then, would you not forgive them? 
  3. They don’t react, respond, are empowered  ~ the same as you.
    1. This is a combination of the first two points. This is the process of how a person makes a choice. Your process and theirs usually aren’t the same. 
    2. If you want to forgive someone, one of the worst things that you can do is try to figure out their logic. 
    3. When we release their logic to them, why then, would we not forgive them?

Now, before we run out of time I want to make one more point. And please, let me be very clear. 

Forgiving someone has nothing to do with me trusting them.  I learned at an early age that trust is not given, it’s earned. Once you’ve earned trust, you have it until you do something to tear it down. Once it’s torn down, in other words, you don’t trust them anymore, it’s our job to present opportunities for them to build back Trust. 

This works in great harmony with setting boundaries. A topic we can discuss later. 

And by the time I see now, we need to discuss everything later, in other words we are out of time now.

Join us next week as we will continue this topic on forgiveness. Thank you so much for listening today, and thank you for giving me an opportunity to earn your trust. 

Until next time, living the freedom life, this is Kyle.