Forgive (v): Stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake
We have all at some point have been hurt, saddened or angered by another person. It is the nature of life. It’s one of the first test that God gives us as human beings. How do we bounce back from being hurt? How do we treat someone who has wronged us? The forgiveness test is really telling about our character for many reasons. I believe that in life we face the forgiveness test to stretch our character in the following areas:
Judgment. The second we step out of our house we are judging everyone. From how someone dresses, to where they live to their skin color. Forgiveness is rooted in judgment. How do we judge another person’s actions against us? Most of the time we use the adage “well if that was me I would never do that”… Well most of us do not know what it is like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. We can assume and make judgments but we don’t actually know. Given the right circumstances anyone is just about capable of anything. Life always has a way of coming full circle, so sometimes we end up doing the very thing we said we would never do. I have seen it over and over again, in my life and the lives of others. The forgiveness test forces us to reevaluate our judgmental attitudes. If we take away the attitude of “I would never do that” and replace it with “I wonder what made them do that” then we take a step closer to forgiveness. Could you imagine if God judged us the same way we judged other people? He would never forgive us for the countless mistakes we make. Take on God’s attitude. Realize that you could be the person making the same mistake that you’re judging someone else for.
Maturity. Forgiveness is a measurement of true maturity. Maturity starts with self-awareness. When we take the false perception we have of ourselves off and see the people we truly are, we start to have empathy for others. When we look at the times we have talked badly about people to make ourselves feel better; the times we held something back to save more for ourselves; or the times we act nice to friends when we were just talking about them behind their backs…we start to unravel the ugliness that is within our own hearts. Maturity has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude. Are we spiteful, mean, petty or cruel back to people who have wronged us or do we rise above the negativity? The amazing thing is that we can choose our attitude. We can choose to be mature or we can choose to be childish. We can choose to be self-aware or we can choose to dwell on other people’s issues without looking inward. These are all choices. God’s test of forgiveness really highlights this area in our lives. He may be using a forgiveness test in your life right now to develop your maturity.
Faith in God. The test of forgiveness reveals how deeply we trust in God. Do we truly trust in God to avenge wrong against us or do we feel we have to do it ourselves? The longer we hold a grudge, act mean, and continue to be spiteful is the longer we continue to express to God that we don’t trust him. We are actively showing that we don’t believe that God is just and we don’t believe he has our best in mind. God is all knowing and all seeing. He knows the situation and he sees what we all go through. When we try to play God, the enemy ends up playing us. The lack of faith, the buildup of stress and anger only lead to destruction. So submit your burden to God and let go of the anger and show God that you can forgive because you truly trust him.
Develop our testimony. God wants to use your life to inspire and save someone else. Everything we go through is not just for us. People are watching. When we pass the test of forgiveness someone else going through that exact same situation will be inspired. Not only do we overcome, deepen our faith and become free by forgiving but we help another sister or brother do the same. Whether you have been abused by a parent, hurt by a spouse or betrayed by a friend there is someone out there just like you going through the exact same thing. God is waiting on you to pass your forgiveness test so that person in your life who is watching you can be set free too.
I know forgiveness is hard but trust in the process. Trust in the blessings, growth and peace that await you once you forgive. Please feel free to share your forgiveness story and you can email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. God Bless you!