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releasing a debt owed to you

October 25, 2008

I’m learning to forgive those I never knew. Forgiveness is about recognizing a debt that someone owes you and then releasing that person from the debt they owe you. It’s a choice.

A lot of times we believe that by forgiving we will invalidate our own hurt or make a statement that says, “What you did was okay,” when in fact that is not what forgiveness says at all. Forgiveness, on the contrary, acknowledges the debt owed to you and then it extends grace and releases that person from the bondage of guilt and shame as it cancels out the debt. Forgiveness reconciles. After all, Jesus’ ministry is that of reconciliation. 1 Corinthians 5: 18-19All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Often times it is easier to recognize your unforgiveness when someone has openly hurt you and/or offended you. However, there are instances, such as the one I am currently experiencing, where the offense was not fully known or acknowledged by me. God is big on forgiveness and releasing people into their destinies. I mean, He did send His son to take our place so that we could be ushered into His presence– despite the sins. While we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

God recognizes all debt that is owed. He also brings it forth as he restores you. He reconciles you to Himself as well as others. In the meantime, things that have been done you by others and vise versa, will surface– even if you were not fully aware of them. God brings opportunity for forgiveness and grace to be extended for both parties involved. You have to remember that God is at work in that person’s life as well. We are all on this journey. God is restoring all of creation. That includes the person who offended you.

Someone tells you that Johnny owes you $100 but you were unaware of it completely; he chose to never give you the money. This is a debt that you will have to forgive him for. Had no one brought it to your attention, you would never have recognized the need to forgive.

The situation I’m in is too personal to share, but I am in a place to forgive someone in which I had never truly acknowledged the debt this person owed me (like the above example). God has surfaced this and I am releasing forgiveness. In the spiritual realm this has great implications on this person’s life as well as my own.

We forgive because he forgave us. In Christ, there is nothing owed to me. He has given me everything.

As we forgive, it allows others to be released and to step into their destiny with Christ. As we are forgiven, it releases us from shame and guilt. We have a God who forgives our wickedness and remembers our sins no more (jeremiah 31:34) We should forgive in the way he forgives.

Forgiveness also heals. Someone once said, “Bitterness is like swollowing poison and hoping the other person dies.” Why would you ever do that? But we do all the time in our hearts when we don’t release others from the debt they owe us. Even if the person never apologizes, we must forgive. You keep yourself in bondage by not forgiving. You give a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4: 26-27 26“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.” By releasing the other person you also purge yourself of whatever poison had been in your heart. God heals your heart. On the other end, not enough can be said about the power of knowing you are forgiven. What healing that brings!

We must let go of our offenses. When you carry offenses it’s like you are carrying a 2 by 4 across your shoulders. You are not only hurting yourself by carrying an offense but you are hurting others as you run into them! Carrying that offense keeps you from going through doorways. You are constanly running into things and you begin to push others away from you. You can’t move forward in life or in what God is calling you to do. You are in bondage to your own unforgiveness. (kudos to Graham Cooke for this analogy…but the holy spirit gave him that image! woo)

Something to realize as well: anger usually covers up a deeper feeling– one of hurt. Not until you can get past the anger will you see the wounds. And then you can begin to let Jesus heal the wounds and forgive others. Let God strip the anger. Give it to Him. You will be surprised at how much hurt is underneath there. I know I was when I first began my road of healing five years ago.

We must be a people who forgive. We must be a people who extend grace. Offenses are going to come. Hurt is going to come. People are going to do things to you that will beckon the need for forgiveness. Whether these things will happen is not the concern. The concern is: what will you do when they come? Will you forgive? I hope and pray that I will! I need so much grace! My little heart of justice runs me amock sometimes! But I have to remember, vengeance is God’s. And right now, we are in a season of grace. Extend the hand of Jesus. He offers grace in order that it would be received.

(**kudos to Beth, LuJean, and Neva for their godly wisdom and advice. you are truly, spiritual mothers! thanks!)

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