Learning to Let Go

As a son or daughter of God, you have been given the greatest of opportunities: to live life at a new level of excellence. You have been made new, 2 Corinthians 5.17. The old is gone. Your entire world has changed. Now you can see life in its proper reality. All of its standards, motives, and judgments are evaluated from a spiritual perspective. Jesus wants to revolutionize everything about you. This includes your all your relationships, and especially your family. I think dysfunctional families have become so common that we think little about it anymore. They are simply accepted as the norm. Many families are a tattered fraction of what they should be. We see marriages on the rocks; parent/children relations strained at best, and hurt that goes on for decades. So many relationships are filled with bitterness, jealousy, anger, hate, and vengeance. These things should never be characteristic of any Christian life. They must be put away, Ephesians 4.31-32.

Maybe your family is struggling. In your mind you wonder how the pieces can be put back together. How relationships can be repaired and all the baggage laid aside. In order for all that to be accomplished you must the commitment to practicing forgiveness. This is a fundamental component that must be sustained over the longterm. Why? You and other people you share the relationship(s) with will fail, offend, or misunderstand you. They will misinterpret what you mean by what you do. A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense, Proverbs 19.11. Never is a person more noble than when he or she forgives.

Why You Need to Let Go of Unforgiving Attitudes
They chain you to your past. As long as you are unwilling to forgive the offender and the offense - you are shackled to them both. The pain is always present.

They produce bitterness. This is a cancer of the heart. It clouds our entire view of life. Bitterness distorts every life view, promotes anger, and allows emotion to rule over you. Every conversation becomes an opportunity to slander.

They make you an unpleasant person. It is never any fun to be around a person who is filled with bitterness.

Why You Should Value and Practice Forgiveness 
Forgiveness is marvelous. It is virtuous. Liberating. Filled with love. It is healthy and wholesome. It relieves tension and brings peace. It solicits love. No relationship can survive without it. As a new creation, you now relate to people differently from the world.

Forgiveness imitates God. How does God forgive? Totally. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in faithful love and truth. God forgives iniquity, Exodus 34.6. See also Psalm 32.1-2; Psalm 85; 130. It is a call to godlikeness, Ephesians 4.32-5.1.

Forgiveness follows Jesus. The biblical theology of forgiveness is summed up in 1 Peter 2.19-20. No one ever suffered unjustly to the degree Jesus did. He never retaliated. He accepted it and committed Himself to God for God's purposes.

How Strong are Your Relationships? 
You need to be in a hurry to forgive as fast as you can. No matter what the other person has or hasn't done, you are God's child. You have a responsibility to glorify Him ... and that is not by retaliation on your part. Taking matters into your own hands is audacious. It is darkness that says I'll give them what they deserve. I'll inflict the pain. I'll be the judge and executioner. If we tear the sword out of God's hands, we usurp His authority!

Forgiveness keeps relationships together. It should be comprehensive and constant. Forgiveness brings heaven to earth. It puts peace in one's heart. It helps the kingdom advance. It makes relationships last. Remember ... for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, Colossians 3.3.
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Matthew Allen

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