Forgive or not to forgive, that’s the question. (But we know the answer is to forgive, right?)
Last week I wrote about the grace God gave me to forgive someone who’d hurt me deeply. His grace took away the pain and empowered me to be genuinely kind and at peace with the situation. We also talked about it on our Wednesday night stretchy-pants Bible study (AKA: FacebookLive).
By God’s grace we are forgiven, but sometimes we need an extra measure of His changing, empowering grace to forgive ourselves. This happened to me a few years ago.
My friends, I share with you biblical truths that are REAL! I’ve experienced these miracles.
I Needed to Forgive Myself
They say if you obsess or worry about something long enough, it will happen. I think that’s what happened in this case, but I’m really not sure. Almost ten years ago I worried about something becoming an idol in my life. I’d prayed about it constantly, and I’d taken great measures (I thought) to keep my heart pure and only worship King Jesus.
Yet, despite my prayers, one day a friend confronted me with her opinion (which she felt was from God) that the goal I was working toward (publishing a book) was an idol.
I Sat in Sackcloth and Ashes
Not literally. But my posture all day was one of great sorrow and repentance. However, no matter how much I repented and prayed and cried, I just could not swing the heavy oppression of judgment and my own unforgiveness. I felt horrible.
Though I couldn’t sit in my living room all day like that, my spirit felt the weight through the evening as I did my daily chores and took care of my family. I’m not sure where all my family was that night, but I vividly remember walking into my kitchen alone, petitioning God to help me through this, and asking why the heavy cloud wouldn’t lift even though I’d confessed and repented. That’s when grace struck.
As soon as I prayed, a memory flashed in my mind of a time when I chose to deny my faith in Jesus because I couldn’t convince the person I respected. God whispered, “People are your idols. Trust what I’m doing. Follow me.”
Freedom to Forgive because of Grace
Now, it sounds like God’s words and the memory would’ve made me feel worse, but that wasn’t the case at all. Grace swept in and blew the heavy sadness out of my soul and replaced it with joy. Yes, joy. Just like the Greek word charis means.
I felt forgiven for the past and freed from the judgment of the present all because of His grace.
“My grace is sufficient because my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Thank you Jesus. I am soo sooo sooo weak. I desperately need His sufficient grace.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan – Grace 2
Last week we studied grace and we’re going to continue. Grace is one of those subjects that is so amazing, life-changing, and empowering we must keep on digging. Join me! Here’s the printable.
John 1: 16-17
16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Prompt: We don’t think of the law as grace, yet it was because it provided instructions for living and a means to God, but out of God’s fullness Jesus brought an even greater, finished grace. We cannot and do not need to try to earn God’s love. It’s done. It’s here. Write a prayer for a greater revelation of His unearned favor, and say thank you.
Romans 1: 1-5
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake.
Prompt: Paul writes of the grace of the call. He says through Jesus they received grace and apostleship to preach to the Gentiles. Did you know grace does that to you too? His grace gives us purpose. Who will you tell about God’s grace? Write down names or a prayer for grace to tell somebody what Jesus has done for you.
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Ephesians 2: 4-7
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Prompt: What speaks to you in this verse? Is it the mercy of God, His kindness, His grace, or the fact that we are already seated with Him in the heavenly realms? “Riches” means “abundance. Try switching out the words and see if it deepens the meaning for you—the abundance of God’s grace has no end. Journal your thoughts.
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
Prompt: God’s grace isn’t just for salvation; it also empowers us to share the Truth. Do you believe his grace still works powerfully today like it did for the apostles? What do you need His empowering grace for today? Write down a prayer.
The Stretch Pants Bible Study
Thanks for stopping by! Praying grace for you.
I need real help forgiving myself for something awful I did to someone I love…not a physical harm, but nonetheless harmful. Is there a specific prayer I can say? They have forgiven me….I just cannot forgive myself. Thank you.
Dear Mary, when I’ve done something that I regret, it’s always helped me to ask the Lord to redeem it. It’s a powerful prayer. It gives God the opportunity to use for GOOD what the enemy wants to use to destroy. Ask the Lord to reveal why you can’t forgive yourself. His answer will reveal the deeper root and bring freedom. I will be praying for you.