The Power of Forgiveness: Deep, Real, and Permanent
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”—Matthew 5:44
For forgiveness to be deep, real, and permanent, there are three things we need to do; three things that will allow us to experience a whole new supernatural experience of intimacy with God. When Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), He said:
1. “Pray for those who spitefully use you. You can’t just say you forgive and then forget about it. No, Jesus said to pray for them. Our prayers can be honest, even angry as we surrender our pain, but ultimately, we pray for God to touch the offender in a miraculous and loving way.
2. “Bless those who curse you. ”We need to bless the offenders. How? Speak well of them, determine not to curse them privately or publicly. I know that’s hard. But refusing to do so is like drinking a toxin that will poison you.
3. Finally, “do good to those who hate you.” In some measure, to some degree, find a way to be good to them.
That’s what Jesus did for us and for those who hurt Him. He loved us and demonstrated it by praying (“Father forgive them!”), blessing us, and finally, laying down His life for us.
Joyce Meyer, a sister in the Lord, Bible teacher, and author has bravely told her story of a painful and abusive situation she endured as a child, involving her father. Many would excuse her if she refused to forgive, but God spoke to her about how needed it was in her life and her father’s. The story of her sacrifice, their reconciliation, and his confession and repentance is heart wrenching and beautiful.
In summing up her experience, Joyce said, “I’m not sorry it happened anymore. Because it gave me the chance to experience what my suffering Jesus went through and to realize that I have the power of God working in me to do it like He did. And, my Daddy’s in heaven.”
It is easy as believers to judge, and to harbor hurt and bitterness. But it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive, pray, bless, and do good to those who hurt us.
We need to make a conscious decision every day that we are going to live a life of forgiveness and mercy.
“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving of life.”—George MacDonald