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We have this saying in our house, “please forgive me for offending you”.  Forgiveness is a two way street. There is acknowledgment that you have offended someone, and then there is receiving of forgiveness. Once I initiate the saying, there is a sense of relief among family after forgiveness is given and received. My pride issues are gone. I can actually function again.

Becoming offended, talked about, or harmed is a way of life that we must endure. It is no way to escape it. We harbor these offenses without resolving it with the other person. While the other person appears to live a life of freedom, we still hold bitterness and sadness because we have been taken advantage. We would like justice but receiving justice will not change the situation.  It will only make it worse. We are encouraged in Romans 12:17-19 not to payback evil with evil but to live at peace with everyone. God will revenge on our behalf. All the years of bitterness and pain can be let go if we forgive. When we don’t forgive the pain of unforgiveness becomes so excruciating that we can lash out at our families, friends, and even strangers. We figure that everyone is against us. This results not only in negative attitudes but in some cases chemical imbalances or unresolved medical conditions (i.e., headaches, body pains, low immune system, and high blood pressure – just to name a few). Forgiveness is a part of life that we cannot live without. We are ultimately held responsible for our unforgiveness. Without forgiving, the Heavenly Father cannot forgive us.  Mark 11:26 says that when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. When we refuse to forgive, we become in bondage to the other person and become in danger of our Father not forgiving us even when we are right about a situation. You can break the cycle of pain by asking God to release you of your unforgiveness toward that person.  He has given you the grace to forgive.  Studies from the Mayo Clinic suggests forgiveness results in less anxiety, stress, lower blood pressure and less depression which leads toward a peaceful life.

Before Jesus died, he prayed to the Father to forgive those who nailed him to the cross. Before Stephen, the deacon, died, he told God not lay this sin against the people for stoning him. Lastly, Joseph forgave his brothers after they sold him into slavery before he rose to power to save a country from famine. Jesus, Stephen, and Joseph completed their life peacefully as they became free from the bondage and pain of others. They displayed the ultimate – love.  We are encouraged to pray and love our enemies. We have to overcome hurt, pain, and bitterness with good to those that have taking advantage over us.

I remember not forgiving a person for a period of time. It held me for years until I was constantly dreaming about it. When we refuse to forgive, pride develops.  Mans pride will bring him to a down fall (Proverb 16:18).  Did I have pride? Yes I did. I realized that I controlled my own dreams, anger, and bitterness. Finally, I asked God to forgive me and I also reconciled with that person. It was a relief. My anger and emotions were released that day with my reoccurring dreams.  God restored me in this area.

Our Heavenly Father is waiting for you to forgive. He wants the best for you. You don’t have to live in unforgiveness. You have too many things to accomplish while you’re here on earth. Your level of accomplishment and work that you do for God will be determined by your forgiveness.  Six simple words will restore the power of God in your life – “Please forgive me for offending you.”

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