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The main cause of unhappiness is that you didn’t get your own way. This emotion leads to both physical and continued, expanded emotional problems, bitterness, anger, revenge, even murder. But how to stop it?
If Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart (Rev 3:20), how can you open the door? The knob on your side is named “Forgiveness.”
Jesus’ basic prayer for all persons says, “forgive us our transgressions as we have (already) forgiven others. All that crucifixion, all that victory for the whole world starts at forgiveness, which is not God’s job but yours. Jesus did His job; now you do your part.
But I can’t do that, you protest! Yes you can, your future depends on your ability to release yourself from the bondage. It has nothing to do with your being justified in your position. You may be the victim who appears on a TV program; your story may be so awful no one listens or believes you. Never mind, God knows. And while you are seething with resentment and blame, the person you have not forgiven is living life without any (apparent) sense of loss.
What happens when you forgive? First, you are free. (By the way you may need to voice this forgiveness many times over.) But when you take your hands off the person(s) who hurt you, God is available now to judge and reach them.
Vengeance is mine, says God. (Deut 32:35) Good – now He can step in. And no, you don’t need to know how He is dealing with them. You will find out in due time. This is His promise. (Deuteronomy 32:35-Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.)
“I choose to forgive (name them by name if you can)” and allow God to free you and to handle this situation. And He will.
Do not forget to forgive yourself and God too. Most people are blaming Him for something. People who pray this prayer often report immediate changes in their life. Try it. After all, it is your life and only you are in charge of your own life.
Forgive and forget is heard often enough and it sounds good, but it is not scriptural. Yes, we forgive. It is the first thing in our healing from the wounds done to us. Forgiveness is the door knob to let Jesus into your heart.
In the book of Revelation Jesus stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20) It never says that He opens the door; you must use the door knob on your side. That door knob is forgiveness. Your forgiveness prepares the way for all sorts of blessings from the Lord. There is no record of a knob on Jesus’ side.
But what about the offender? No, you are not supposed to forget. The Laws of man and the laws of God are all in place to discipline the offender. The crime of murder, for example, has no statue of limitations. 70 years can go by and the offender still brought to a court.
There is a reason for this; God and Man still hold offenders responsible for their behavior. Once you have forgiven the issue is no longer your business, but it is now the business of the Law. And the law is in place because past behavior is a predicator of future behavior. Judges decide sentences for criminals based on the pattern and seriousness of previous offenses. A shoplifter is not put in jail for 20 years as might be a rapist. The punishment not only fits the crime it fits the pattern of crime.
We should not forget the child rapist as we knows statistically he will have 70 victims before he is caught even once. This is a serious criminal pattern of behavior.
Forgiveness by the Law for the offender comes when he has shown not just repentance but what the Bible calls the “fruit of repentance.” It takes several growing seasons for fruit to show up. That is why we put people on probation after serving time. We need to see some life-changes before we let them return fully to society. All our forgiveness for someone has no power to correct them.
When we see the fruit of repentance as the scripture says, we know they are changed. We must judge ourselves whether we have fully forgiven and yes, it takes some time.