I read this sentence in a news article. “I never felt really healthy. The best I could feel was – not sick.” I understood what she was saying because I was wondering the same thing about my own life during the past Christmas holidays. I had been explaining these same feelings to my son and we pondered and wondered if I would ever rise above – not being sick. I am happy to say that I did come through to a healthier place and still progressing onward. I did it with a lot of prayers and seeking God. Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.
Healthy living and being proactive in one’s health choices in order to rise above the norm is far better than just being on the verge of sickness and disease, as in borderline diabetics, recovering alcoholics, first stages of dementia and so on. That place of living is not a healthy place to be in unless you are already headed to health from that place of borderline sickness.
Some of the people who struggle with forgiving their past are experiencing the same thing as the people who are just not sick. They have gone through the motions of forgiving the ones who have hurt them, but sense no real freedom. They have forgiven in a way that seems to work until the memory or encounter with that person or situation explodes again. Forgiving under our own terms with strings attached will continue to bind us up.
Why does God admonish us to forgive everyone and the part they played in our past? So that we may go forward without hindrances! That is it in its simplicity. Psalm 103:4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Living in a place with an unforgiving heart will hinder our lives in all that we do. Forgiving the hurtful events from our past will set us free for today and the future. However, the forgiveness we offer must be a choice of forgiving completely. Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Deep down we all know it is the right thing to do because we have all felt the joy of being forgiven. Psalm 32:1 How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! We have all felt the freedom forgiveness gives us when we have been forgiven and pardoned for something of great significance. How many siblings need to forgive each other for the scars encountered while growing up in a volatile and brutal family? How many divorced people need to forgive their deplorable spouse for the unfaithfulness and utter feeling of being betrayed to the core of their hearts?
We all know of unspeakable things that have been done to others that defy reason and human understanding, and yet God asks us to forgive all the sins and memories of the past. As Derek Prince says. “Forgiving is not an emotion, it is a decision.” We choose to obey God by forgiving the past.
What courage this action takes in the life of the believer in Christ. The fortitude of walking forward and saying, “I forgive you completely,” leaves many speechless because of the great burden of debt lifted from the accused shoulders. What most people do not realize is that the one forgiving is the one who gets set free the most because this graceful action cuts all ties of misunderstood justice. They are no longer just not sick, but walking healthily in the love and power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer wear the coat of blame, excuses and rationalization that they have come to rely upon for their lack of growth in the Kingdom of God.
In forgiving completely, these brave souls have removed the vestment of hurt and put on the robe of righteous-strength and walk purposefully in the peace that passes all understanding. Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Prov. 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaks frowardness. When we say, “I forgive you completely,” our lips of righteousness know it is the right thing to say. When we do not forgive completely, our conversation will prove our choice by the duplicity being voiced by our soul.
As we get older in life and mature in our walk with Christ it is no longer good enough to be just not sick. We need to walk in the health and power of the grace of God and be the righteous witnesses Christ has made us to be. My sins were many and Christ forgave me completely. All I can say is, Lord, teach my lips to speak acceptable words of forgiveness and peace to all who have hurt me and are in need of your merciful salvation as I have been blessed to walk in. Thank you, Lord.