The Power to Forgive

Leading up to Mother’s Day, this week’s devos were written by my best friend and wife, Grace, and our oldest daughter, Ashley, as part of their new book ‘Fearlessly Feminine’. Get your copy for a gift of any amount during the month of May by clicking here.

“Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest.” – Proverbs 19:22 

When we think about loyalty and betrayal, it’s important to consider what that looks like in our relationship with God first. Every time we sin (a thought, word, or deed that violates the Word and will of God), it’s a form of betrayal in our relationship with Him. We need to be exceedingly grateful that He chose to send His son Jesus to forgive that betrayal, and we can go to Him in prayer and repent (turn from) for what we’ve done. Understanding that God loves us despite our lack of loyalty to Him, but also wants to reconnect through our repentance and His forgiveness, allows us to have perspective when we are betrayed by others.

Friendships can be both hurtful and incredible blessings, but any growing relationship will go through some growing pains. When we hold onto betrayal, repeating the hurt over and over in our minds, we become bitter. When we walk through the healing process, we can ask the Lord how we sinned against the person, forgive the offense (whether they ask for forgiveness or not), determine if we need a boundary with them or not, experience healing from it, and learn discernment for future relationships.

Betrayal is when opposition or harm comes from someone you trusted or when you turn your back on a friend. Proverbs informs us about betrayal of God, spouse, and friends: Prov. 2:17-19; 6:16-19; 16:28.

God always offers hope for our healing but when betrayal has happened, we need His help to discern the steps to take. Read the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4, the woman caught in adultery in John 8, or the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:47-48. Jesus said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

We can see Jesus’ incredible depth of forgiveness in these stories, but we also know the betrayal of Judas, who Jesus didn’t run after or ultimately reconcile with.

The Bible talks about loyalty, as you live out the fruit of the Spirit in your relationships to God, spouse, and friends: Prov. 3:32; 12:4; 17:17.

There are always things to repent of and always people to forgive as we journey through life. When we feel hurt, betrayed, teased, criticized, or unloved by someone, it is often easier to hold on to it at first. Jesus tells us in Mt. 6:14, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” The reason Jesus had to come down from Heaven was to forgive our sins through living a sinless life and dying on the cross as a substitution for our sins (past, present, and future). If we withhold forgiveness, we are doing harm to ourselves and our relationship with God (Eph. 4:30- 31) and others as we invite bitterness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean the offender automatically has full trust again if they have done harm and still intend to, but it does mean we are handing them over to the Lord to deal with. Sometimes after we forgive, boundaries are still necessary to rebuild trust or even end the relationship. Romans 12:18 tells us to, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Forgiveness releases it from us carrying it around as baggage and can grow our future discernment. 

The final contrast we will examine in tomorrow’s devo is being fearful vs. fearing the Lord.  

Get time in prayer and His Word to hear from the Holy Spirit (Spirit of wisdom) for your specific situation. Be willing to repent if you are the offender and forgive if you’ve been betrayed. God will forgive you and/or justly deal with the person so that we can forgive as He forgives us.

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