Passover, also called Pesach is one of my favorite feasts but also one of the most emotionally trying. It's a time of internal cleansing, time of forgiveness and a time for family while reconnecting with God the Father (Yahweh) and celebrating Jesus (Yeshua) our Saviour.
Let's talk about Forgiveness today.
The word “forgive” appears 121 times in the bible. The Stanford Forgiveness Project has shown that learning to forgive lessens the amount of hurt, anger, stress and depression that people experience. People who forgive also become more hopeful, optimistic and compassionate and have enhanced conflict resolution skills.
Don’t get on the roller coaster of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness becomes bitterness. Bitterness becomes resentment which leads to anger which results in an self-inflicted prison.
When we are mistreated it is up to us to say that I am going to be like Christ. I’ll be the one who says “forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they’re doing”. God says love your enemies and you can only do that when you forgive.
Many people harbour unforgiveness in their hearts due to some form of abuse they suffered as children at the hands of adults – often parents, teachers, family members and friends even colleagues or clients. For years I was harboring unforgiveness towards a few people in my life - some unknowingly.
It is so important to ask God to show you into your past and start forgiving the people who you feel has wronged you in your life – get rid of all that bitterness that is consuming your live and life choices. Get free so that you can move forward in love.
I have realized that forgiving people no matter what they have done to you is a biblical principle and God will reward you for it. In God’s prayer one of the important pieces is “and forgive our sins as we have forgiven those who sinned against us (Luke 11:4). God can forgive and free us from bondage when we forgive others and ourselves. Often professional help by godly councilors is necessary to peel back the layers of shame, unforgiveness and guilt in order for us to be set free. So don’t let pride stand in your way get the necessary help and move forward.
When the pain of holding on to the wrongdoing in the past continues to follow you into the future, you have a choice. Be bitter or let it go. I have come to experience how awesome and freeing it is to forgive, that it is way better for my sanity and soul just to let go! What is worse is sometimes we hold on to things that the other person isn't even aware off and we live in bitterness while they go on with their lives.
So why should we forgive?
It is powerful to replace my feelings of hurt, with a healing action. I could actually sense the resentment in my heart ease and was able to access the affection and love that I have always felt for the person I had grown to resent. When we can forgive other people, we are releasing our own hostility as well, so we benefit just as they do.
Forgiveness is the only way to free yourself.
One of the things that Nelson Mandela is famous for is his insistence on a policy of forgiveness as opposed to revenge when he became President of SA in 1994. In one of his most famous quotes on his release from prison he said,
When we spend time going over the hurt that has been done to us and suffering all the anguish that brings, we are continuously pulled back into the past. Although we might wish to move on, we are still caught in the prison of all our conflicting emotions. Forgiving enables us to move on.
Don’t we also sometimes need forgiveness from other people for the pain we cause them? If we cause pain, don’t we wish for forgiveness?