Healing and Forgiveness

When Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago, every sin was paid for. We often think that it was the debt of sin that was forgiven, that God now somehow excuses sin. But that is not what forgiveness was, that’s not what Jesus paid for. When He died, Father God stamped your bill, “PAID IN FULL!” It’s not that God now overlooks your sin, but that every debt of sin was already paid for 2000 years ago. (Even the sins you haven’t committed have already been paid for!)

Before the Crucifixion, sin was measured by how well a person’s behavior measured up to the standard of the law. When Jesus met that standard by fulfilling the law, the definition of sin changed. Under grace, sin is no longer a matter of our behavior, but of our identity. Are we living according to who we are now? Or are we still trying to measure up to the standard of the law, through the strength or acceptability of our own behavior, as if we could do on our own what only Jesus could and did do 2000 years ago?

Grace and Forgiveness

So on what basis do we seek forgiveness from God today? If forgiveness is asking Him to excuse or cover our sin, wasn’t that already accomplished perfectly by Jesus? What then are we asking Him to do? And what do we say when we make a mistake, or come short of what we know He’s asked us to do? How about, “oops!” and go on. Under grace, the need for forgiveness is no longer there.

God’s nature is forgiving, in the sense of being unconditionally accepting of who and what we are now. Inasmuch that we have that same nature, we also are forgiving people.

Forgiveness no longer depends on the actions or attitude of the offending party; we forgive because we are a forgiving spirit being. It doesn’t matter if we feel like it, if we want to, or if the other person deserves it. It is now what and who we are. It’s not about them, it’s about us!

Again, recognize that the basis for all of our relationships changed at the Resurrection of Jesus 2000 years ago. As you learn to practice forgiveness the Lord will bring to the surface those areas that have remained wounded due to a misconception of what forgiveness is. Learning that you are already a forgiving person will free you to both rest in dependence on God and risk rejection in pursuing the unique path the Lord has for you. Stop beating yourself up! To continue to do so after you’ve forgiven yourself is to reject your new nature, to reject God and what He says about you!

Forgiving God

When we understand the concept of forgiveness as God uses it today, we can expand and deepen our relationship with God by forgiving Him for hurts He has done to us. This will likely be considered almost a blasphemous concept at first. How can we think of forgiving God? He’s not capable of doing something wrong, so how could He need to be forgiven? Remember we’re not living under the law, but according to His life, grace! Under grace what is important is relationship, not behavior. We don’t forgive God because He’s done something wrong, we forgive Him for hurting us.

Because we’re still “in process” and learning how to live according to our new spirit identity, God often has to resort to putting us into difficult situations in which we get hurt. God does it—not other people, the world, or the devil. All things are under His control, and occur according to His purposes. When we accept that He’s doing these things for us, to bring us into dependence on Him, when pain comes into our lives, we learn to take it right to Him. We don’t try to get out of it, or blame it on someone or some thing, but we go right to the First Cause of every event in our lives. And we say, “Lord, that hurt!” And because He loves us, and shares our pain, He says, “I’m sorry, but I love you, and you needed this” and we say, “That’s okay; I know You love me, and I love You too.” We forgive God, restoring our unconditional acceptance of His unfathomable love for us. (One of the reasons we have such a hard time with this is that so many believe that parents never need to apologize to their children.)

How To Forgive God

Take a moment now to let Him bring to your attention areas or events that you may be holding Him accountable for. Perhaps a family tragedy, an unanswered question, or pending crisis. Accept that all things are created and being used by God for the single purpose of bringing you into dependence.

“God, it hurt me when You ________________________________________________________________________;

it made me feel __________________________________________________________________________________.

“I had thought that if You loved me You would ____________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________,

so I started to believe that __________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________.

“But I recognize that despite my feelings and beliefs, I am now a forgiving person by my new birth, and I forgive You for hurting me. I release You unconditionally from being accountable to explain why You did what You did, and I accept Your sovereignty on behalf of Your love for me. You’re off the hook.

“Father, because I am Your child, I also give You permission to continue to do whatever is necessary to bring Your plans for my life into completion. I know You love me, and that everything You’re doing is for me. I also acknowledge that because we are already speaking spirit to Spirit, I have already agreed and given assent to everything You have done, are doing and will do in my life. And I thank You for it, even when it hurts, and I now know that there is no barrier between us in this matter.”

Love, ___________________________________________

                                                Signature             Date

Make copies and complete as many of these as necessary to arrive at a clean slate with God.

Forgiving Others

When we know who we are in Christ, and how much God loves others, we are free to let others “be” where God has them. We are free to rest in our relationship with God, confident that, over time, our behavior will line up with who we truly are. We will therefore avoid using manipulation, judging, pressuring or condemning others for being where they are. We instead love and accept them unconditionally.

How To Forgive Others

Take a moment now to let God bring to your attention people that you may be holding accountable for wrongs they may have committed or for withholding what you feel you deserve. This is between you and God, unless He specifically directs you otherwise, and then it is only between you, God and the offending person.

“(Person’s Name)_______________________________,

it hurt me when you ____________________________________________________________________________;

and it made me feel ______________________________________________________________________________.

“I had thought that if you loved me you would ____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________,

so I started to believe that ___________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________.

“But I recognize that despite my feelings and beliefs, I am now a forgiving person by my new birth, and I forgive you for hurting me. I realize it is not your responsibility for meeting my needs for love, acceptance and value. I release you unconditionally from being accountable to explain why you did what you did.

“_________________________, because I am loved, valued and honored by my Father, I also make myself vulnerable to be hurt by you again, giving you the freedom to make mistakes, and I will respond according to the Life that is now flowing through me. You are not accountable to me, and I don’t expect or need you to change, though I am also free to make changes that may affect our relationship.”

Love, _________________________________________

                                     Signature         Date

Make copies and complete as many of these as necessary to arrive at a clean slate with those God brings to your attention.

Forgiving Ourselves

Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We often live with the regret of past mistakes, wrong decisions and roads not taken instead of letting ourselves off the hook in acknowledging that wherever we are right now is exactly where God wants us to be. None of us is powerful enough to keep ourselves out of His will, especially when we realize that His will is all about our dependent relationship with Him, not what we are doing today.

How To Forgive Ourselves

Take a moment now to let God bring to your attention things you have said or done that you may be holding yourself responsible or accountable for. This is between you and God, unless He specifically directs you otherwise.

“(Your Name Here) ____________________,

it hurt when I ___________________________________________________________________________________;

and it made me feel ______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________.

“I had thought that I would _________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________,

so I started to believe that ___________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________.

“But I recognize that despite my feelings and beliefs, I am now a forgiving person by my new birth, and I forgive myself for doing or saying things that hurt myself or others. I realize it is not my responsibility for meeting my or others’ needs for love, acceptance and value, yet also accept that I love, accept and value myself and others unconditionally. I release myself unconditionally from being accountable to explain why I did what I did.

“Because I, _______________________, am loved, valued and honored by my Father, I also make myself vulnerable to hurt myself and others again, giving myself the freedom to make mistakes and to respond according to the Life that is now flowing through me. I am not accountable to me, and I don’t expect or need me to change.”

Love, _________________________________________

                                         Signature       Date

Make copies and complete as many of these as necessary to arrive at a clean slate with yourself.

Finally, ask the Lord, “Are we done here?”

Adapted from Getting Healed by Dianne Thomas