At the morning service today we had a powerful message from guest speaker, Valerie Fraser, about forgiveness and what it means to forgive other people for wrongs they have done to us in the past.
The scripture verse was taken from Matthew 6:9-14 where Jesus taught His disciples to pray. Verses 12 and 14 speak about us forgiving others as God forgives us.
Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-14
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Having unforgiveness in our lives against someone who has hurt us is like constantly dragging a heavy burden around.
- Forgiving others cannot be done by ourselves.
- We need to ask God to help us.
- Forgiving others will release that person from our lives and we will be set free.
- It is an act of our will.
- Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting what was done to you.
- The person you are setting free is actually you!
Valerie also gave some examples of people who had forgiven others and who then experienced healing in their bodies. Holding on to hurts and resentments can actually make us ill.
At the end of the service Valerie invited those who felt they had someone to forgive to write the name of the person on a piece of paper, then tear it up and drop it into a waste bin in the corner. Many people went up and did just that.
This message really got my attention as I’ve had to go through the process of forgiving people in the past, many years ago, for hurting me and it really brought a sense of a great burden lifting off my shoulders when I did eventually make a conscious decision to forgive that person. I felt a great sense of freedom. It wasn’t easy but I persevered. I knew that this is what God wanted me to do.
However, I have to constantly guard my heart to make sure that I don’t let that feeling of resentment creep into my heart when someone does or says something that seems hurtful, but to rather just say, Lord bless them. I’m now more compassionate and understanding of others and can say Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing. I know that hurting people end up hurting others, saying and doing hurtful things. As I’ve grown older I’m just more aware of this now and it’s really great to be free!
Looking at all the little bits of paper in the waste bin, I think many were released this morning from heavy burdens!
PS. Valerie’s message will be available in the sermon archive on the website soon.