Today, we are talking about what does forgiveness looks like?
And I feel like forgiveness is like the F word that Christians don’t enjoy using.
That’s just like some women don’t enjoy using the S word, which is submission, but me today knows that the F word and the S word are beautiful blessings.
But it is until you really understand it or you need forgiveness yourself or you are submitting to someone who you’re like “Yes, they can lead. This is amazing”
Until you have that experience, then you don’t really know.
It just looks bad.
But when I talk about the S word, we’re talking about the F word Forgiveness.
I went to Dr. Google and then the dictionary says, forgiveness is a noun and it means the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
Here’s a sentence. She is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped in the line.
I clicked on a question from Google that said, “What is forgiveness?”
It says, Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
What a definition! Two snaps for Dr. Google.
You know what I think about forgiveness. It’s like a person has done something or we have done something and whether they ask for forgiveness or not, we choose to forgive them.
Why in the world would a person choose to forgive?
I searched on Google again about forgiveness in the Bible context.
Here’s the first thing that comes up, “Be kind and compassionate to one another. Forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone”
So when you read that, in contrast to what the psychologist says is that, we forgive people because God has asked us to do so.
But He also says that if you forgive other people when they sin against us, then God will also forgive us.
First of all, the bare minimum principle is God says, “Hey, when somebody sins against you, I want you to forgive and also, I will forgive you”
So I’ve been like going, “Well, wait a minute” Does that mean until I ask them for forgiveness, he doesn’t forgive me? Like, what does that say?
So I have searched on the topic, “What did Jesus say about forgiveness?”
It says, “Jesus taught if you forgive others, there’s transgressions, you’re heavenly Father will forgive you. Peter asked Jesus how often it is necessary to forgive? And Jesus replied, Seventy-seven times, a number to be taken symbolically, not literally for the never-ending way that we ought to forgive”
If I’m reading this correctly, and we’ve all heard it in church. If I want to be forgiven, I have to first forgive.
I was with a friend the other day and something crazy had happened. And as my friend is going through this healing, like physical healing process, she goes to the hospital and she hears God say, “So are you willing to forgive A, B, and C?”
And she said, NO! She was honest, right? She was like, “No, I don’t know”
But she knew that He was asking her that because He was also inviting her to forgive.
I remember when I found out that my ex was cheating, and early on he never asked for forgiveness. He honestly never even admitted it.
I remember early on when I was sitting at my couch, I was like, I have to forgive him.
I literally have to forgive him.
I have to forgive him because if I’m gonna be able to reconcile, if he chooses to ask forgiveness or whatever, I have to figure out how to forgive him.
But I also knew that one of the ways I was gonna be able to make it was, if I forgave him, I didn’t know exactly what that looked like.
What that was gonna feel like. It was just knowing of, “I’ve gotta forgive him for all these different reasons”
And it was so hard. It was so painful because my ex was not apologizing.
He was actually more mean than apologetic.
And I remember, I had my little notebook and it was so hard to forgive him. And so I started writing lines in my notebook and the lines I said was, “God, help me to forgive even if he never apologizes”
Because I was like, he might not ever apologize.
I still have that journal. Because there’s no way I’m gonna be able to do this on my own strength. I just know it. I just can’t. And I just wrote it and I would recite it every day.
Because I was aware that if I did not forgive him, then I would be hurting myself.
I didn’t know the depth of it, but I just knew that.
I also remember years later, I had a session with someone who was mentoring me, and we were talking to God, and God was like, “Keenya, you gotta forgive the women he cheated on you with”
And I was like, “No, What?”
Then it smacked me in the face. It was like, “Hey, guess what? You are harboring unforgiveness towards them too”
“You’re harboring unforgiveness to the people who didn’t come try to help you or call you or see how you were doing”
Just all this stuff. And I started to realize that when I think about forgiveness like, here’s this beautiful life that we can live. It’s beautiful. It’s magical. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful.
And as people start hurting us or we get into situations, then it can start getting dark and then it gets a little cloudy, then it’s like rainy outside and then just dark as if it’s like midnight.
As I started thinking about my life when all that was going on with my ex and all that type of stuff. Life was okay. It wasn’t awesome, but it was okay.
And I was trying to live this great life, just heal and all this type of stuff. And one of the things I realized was that life wasn’t getting as beautiful as I wanted it to get until I was allowing myself to have the walls being broken down again. Like just letting light back in.
One of the ways I let light back in was through forgiveness, but also having to forgive myself and having to also ask for forgiveness for my ex-husband.
Y’all gonna be like, “What?”
I don’t remember how many years later this was. Let us just say it was four years later.
I heard God say, “I want you to write him a letter and I want you to ask him for forgiveness”
“Forgiveness for what? I didn’t cheat on him. He cheated on me repeatedly” and I just was like, “Okay”
So I had my little notebook and was like, all right, for what? He goes, “I want you to ask for forgiveness for everything you did against him. You did not cause him to cheat. That’s not what happened here. I’m not talking about that, but it was all the things that you did. And when you were dating him. What’s all the stuff?”
And I said, “Oh, this is gonna be a long letter” And I had like a legal pad. I think it was two pages. I can’t remember how long. It was pretty long for me.
And I just started to write, I wrote his name and I said, “Hey, I just, I was talking with the Lord and he told me that I needed to apologize to you for some things”
I was like, “I don’t want anything from you. I’m not trying to get back with you. I wanna do what God has invited me to do”
And I just started writing, “I’m sorry, when the times when I said this, I’m sorry, when I did this” And I was just writing lines and I just wrote it all out.
It was very detailed, like only he would understand all the stuff.
And I just wrote it and wrote it and wrote it and I put it in a sealed envelope and then I put that envelope in another envelope and sent it to a friend and I just said, “Hey, can you get this to such and such?”
I was like, “It’s not a mean thing or anything like that. God has just asked me to write this to him.
Can you get this to him”
I don’t know when he got it.
I just remember I had a dream one night and in that dream I was with my ex. We were at a church or something and at first he was sitting next to me and then he got up and he’s wearing this really huge suit. It was like he was so little. It just looks like it swallowed him.
And I was just like, “God, what does that mean?”
He goes, “You released him. That burden that he was carrying, you released him when you wrote him that letter”
And I was just shocked.
But also, I think it was like a couple days later after I had written that letter out. I had a dream about me getting a bunch of money.
He was with me and I had to go into a locker. And it was a bunch of money and a locker. And then when I grabbed the money out of a locker, I put it into a bag and he was there. So I handed him the bag and he walked me to my car, put it in my trunk, and then I drove off.
And I was like, “What does this mean?”
And the next day, I got like $8,000 that came to me.
For me, when I think about forgiveness, it’s something God asks us to do, period. And it’s something that heals and frees us. And forgiveness also heals and releases the other person whether they know it or not.
And more than anything, less about us or them, when I think about forgiveness, it’s like this is just something that God just asked me to do.
And as much as this might be painful and something I don’t want to do, that love and relationship with God looks like sacrifice.
It looks like, here’s this thing I don’t want to do, but I will do it because I love you and I also am learning the benefits of forgiving.
When I think about what God did. Jesus did die on the cross. And I wouldn’t wanna die on the cross for anybody, but he did that for us. Right?
And so because he sacrificially did that thing, we got something.
And so because we sacrificially forgive people, whether they apologize or not, they get something and we get something.
And we get to stand with God and our love walk and all the other things.
I don’t want it to sound kind of deep, but if God invites us to forgive, like He’s saying, this is the way to this. If we choose not to do this, then I’m pretty sure we’re walking in disobedience.
I’m pretty sure that means that if we’re walking in disobedience and the enemy could be like, “Okay, well she’s not walking with him, so I can get in through”
Not saying that a hundred percent. I don’t know that, I can’t say that’s like written out in the Bible that way, but it reminds me of when you have sex outside of marriage.
Sex is awesome, we enjoy it. But when you have it outside of marriage, then you’re just not walking in purity and holiness and what God asks you to do.
And then, it opens you up to other things, right? It opens you up to potentially having a baby out of wedlock. It opens you up to soul ties and all this stuff.
And it’s like, “I don’t wanna have a baby with a man, not my husband. I don’t wanna have soul ties to a man that’s not my husband” or whatever.
And so, that’s disobedience, then that can happen when you have sex outside of marriage.
I’m like, if I choose not to forgive, then that means I’m walking on disobedience that’s gonna open me up to all this other stuff over here. And I’m like, “Huh, I think it would probably behoove me to try to do it God’s way”
Does that mean it’s easy? No, not whatsoever. It does not mean this thing is easy by any means.
But it means that we can do it because if God can do it, Jesus can do it, then we can do it too.
So, if you have anybody that you need to forgive, then my strong encouragement is to make that list of who that is.
And start your journey of forgiving those people.
Have a conversation with God about what that does look like?
Ask Him, does he want you to reach out to them? He may not want you to do that, so you gotta obey what he’s telling you to do.
Me, he told me to do that. I wouldn’t have done that without him. So I’m just saying.
I wouldn’t do anything without Him.
So it’s really important for you to go, “Okay, God, Jesus, What do you want me to do? Who do you want me to forgive? Do I need to forgive myself?”
I want to share that I’ve been on that journey for a while, that “Is there somebody that I need to ask for forgiveness from?” Because I guarantee you wanna have somebody where you actually need to reach out to such and such.
Like there was a girl, I owed her like $180 from like 10 years ago. And God was like, “I need you to go send her that $180 and write her”
I sent her a message on Facebook and said, “Hey, I owe you $180 back in the day. Can I have your address?” And she replied, “What?” I was like, “I need your address”
And so I sent her the check, but I also wrote her a letter.The letter says “I’m really sorry it’s taking me so long and so on….”
Before that, God was saying, “You owe your daddy $1,800”
I was like, “Jesus, that’s a lot of money” He goes, “Yeah, but you borrowed that. You owe him $1,800”
And so I wrote him a long letter and I said, “Daddy, I’m really sorry it’s taking me so long to give you this money. Thank you so much for giving it to me….”
My father texted me, “Oh my God, I needed that money so much to fix some things around my house because I’m trying to sell my house”
And so it’s just not easy doing these things but there’s so many benefits to it.
There’s just so many benefits to it.
So make a list of people that you need to forgive, including yourself, and then ask Jesus if there’s anybody that you need to ask for forgiveness from.