The Freedom of Forgiveness ~ Guest Post
I have read and been told that forgiveness brings many benefits, especially to the one that forgives. However the act of forgiving is not always easy. In today’s guest post from Karen May (more about her below) we will learn about the freedom of forgiveness.
The Freedom of Forgiveness
“How often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
This verse can be so challenging. As I raise my fourth teenage daughter, this verse is one that I need to hear often, remembering that offense is part of the teenage DNA. Do you have someone you need to forgive? Some offense or hurt that you have been carrying and just don’t know how to put down? Let me share some of the ways I have learned to forgive in the process of raising moody teens.
1) Stop looking in
When we dwell on our pain, it keeps us from moving forward with our lives and towards forgiveness. Honor your feelings and then look beyond them.
2) Start looking out
I’ve heard it said, “People hurt others as much as they are hurting.” See where the other person may have been hurt, embarrassed, insecure, or afraid and how it could explain their actions.
3) Ask God to bless the other person.
I had someone who was constantly hurtful in my life, and I was having a hard time forgiving her. After confessing my struggle, I was told to ask God to bless her. I did, but I will admit I prayed grudgingly. As I continued to pray, God made it clear to me that she was actually a very unhappy person in dire need of the blessing I was praying for. (Refer to Step Two) Suddenly, I wanted her to be blessed beyond measure, and I wanted to be a part of the process.
4) Realize that forgiveness is for you, not about you.
Forgiveness does not make the other person admit or believe that they were wrong. It does not mean that a broken relationship will be healed. Instead, forgiveness means that you will be released from the weight of the offense and the energy of the anger and hurt that you have been carrying.
5) Give grace
None of us is perfect. When you hold someone to that standard, they will always fail you. Expect mistakes and forgive as you would like to be forgiven.
Give yourself grace, too. You may not be able to completely forgive right away, or you might forgive and then pick it right back up again. If that happens, return to step one. When Jesus said we have to forgive seventy-seven times, he didn’t necessarily mean that there would be seventy-seven offenses. It may be that it takes us that many times for it to stick.
Karen May is a national speaker, inspirational author, and spiritual director. Her engaging style and uncomplicated approach to faith inspire audiences to dive deeper into their understanding of Scripture and engage in a more personal relationship with Jesus.
Her books Walking Through Holy Week: A Journey into the Story of Easter and Be Not Afraid: Living with Faith in the Midst of a Fearful World bring prayer, Scripture, and faith to life in simple yet profound ways.
Karen has been featured on several radio shows including the Jennifer Fulwiler Show, Morning Air (Relevant Radio) and Mary’s Touch (Relevant Radio).
About The Books
As we approach the upcoming Easter season, many faithful strive to keep the season intentional and inspirational for themselves and their families. However in our busy and commercial world of fancy Easter baskets and chocolate bunnies, the sacredness of the holiday is sometimes missed, like a well-hidden Easter egg.
Spiritual director and inspirational author Karen May guides worshipers and readers on a journey through through Holy Week, making each day real and personal as we approach one of the most important days in Christian history.
Walking Through Holy Week is an in-depth guide to the stories and events that open up a deeply meaningful experience of Easter. This six-chapter book is designed for personal or group study. Each chapter contains scripture, reflection questions, and explanations of items, actions, and events from Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, with an additional chapter devoted to the Stations of the Cross – a traditional practice of Lent. Done on a weekly basis during Lent or simply for daily study during Holy Week, Walking Through Holy Week will enhance the reader’s experience of Easter in a new and beautiful way. This book is very meaningful for any Christian looking to deepen their faith, and a powerful tool for people entering the Catholic Church at Easter.
Available on Amazon.
Don’t be afraid. How often does that phrase alone help us not to be afraid? For most of us, the answer is, “never.” We tell our children, our friends, and ourselves, but the phrase is never effective if it is not followed by some additional reassurance.
In this simple, yet profound study, Karen May takes us into the stories and characters of the Bible that help us to see our fear through the eyes of a comforting God who tells us not to be afraid. She helps us to find the reassurance and trust we need as we arrive in the uncomfortable and challenging moments of our lives. Join Karen as she explores God’s word as it relates to overcoming the fear in Delays, Obstacles, Suffering, Forgiveness, Fear, Leadership.
Available on Amazon.