Forgive. The word can strike terror in our heart. How do I? How can I after all that has happened?
Perhaps you have suffered unspeakable harm; perhaps you are the one who inflicted the pain. The events may even seem to justify a lasting resentment--against another or yourself. Justice may cry out from the pain but mercy cries out to our God. And, God requires forgiveness.
Forgiveness is bedrock on the pathway to healing. Biblical forgiveness flows in three essential directions: forgiving others, receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, and forgiving ourselves. As long as unforgiveness is present, God's hand of protection, mercy, and restoration is hindered at best and, at worst, halted.
While we must make a decision to forgive, forgiveness is more than a decision; it must come from the heart. That takes God's grace. We can't always start by forgiving from our heart, but we can begin by making the decision to forgive. Then we can enter onto a healing pathway, that if we persevere, can bring us to the place of wholehearted forgiveness.
Scripture References: (Colossians 3:13; Matthew 18:35)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (NIV)