By Tara Beattie

I used to stupidly think that saying I am sorry was a sign of weakness. I was full of pride. I literally struggled with saying I was sorry. I never wanted to admit that I was wrong and saying I am sorry meant that I was wrong. My poor husband had to deal with me and my immature princess mentality.

Then God.

Oh, thank heaven that God stepped in and humbled this former princess to her core. I was in serious need of a reality check. I expected others to forgive me but was super slow to extend forgiveness to others.

But then God.

We finally got our act together and started attending church. We found some amazing friends who have become more like family that are life-giving and truth-telling. We sat around tables and had some really deep and meaningful discussions. These friends have helped me learn a sign of a truly healthy believer is someone who quickly flows forgiveness to others.

For a long time, I spent time in a rut of unforgiveness. I did not think that I was worthy of forgiveness. I spent my time wallowing in a pit of thinking I was undeserving of forgiveness. I wasted time thinking I could not be forgiven for my sins. I had drifted too far for too long to be welcomed back, let alone forgiven. Whether or not I deserve forgiveness was never my choice to make. Forgiveness can never be truly achieved until we first forgive ourselves. God’s love is beyond words. He forgives without batting an eye. As humans, we feel like we need to justify everything. The truth is, we should allow forgiveness to be a constant flow. I am not saying you should be a doormat, not at all. I am simply saying that we need let forgiveness flow so we can reach a new deeper relationship with God. Unresolved unforgiveness is a setback and a heavy burden that we were never meant to bare.

The Bible is clear on forgiveness. We see in Ephesians, Mark, 1 John, Matthew and numerous other books in the Bible where we are told to forgive so your sins may be forgiven. Forgiveness is not easy. It is humbling. But it is commanded throughout scripture.

Psalm 103:10-14 states, “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” God tells us through this passage that His love for us surpasses all understanding. He is compassionate. He has a great love for those who fear Him. You guys, He will meet you when you are in the peaks and He will be present during the valleys. Here’s a thought… God is saying to you about your past, “you no longer live at this address, why are you still receiving mail where you no longer live?”  We all have a past and it is just that. But when you use your past and turn it to a testimony, oh man, that is when forgiveness begins to flow. That is when that gal who was barely hanging on came to know Jesus because YOUR story was so similar to hers or had such an impact on her heart. Your past could be the key to changing someone’s future in the coming Jesus.

Do we really deserve forgiveness?  Here’s the simple truth, it is not our choice to make as to who is deemed as forgivable. We are trying to step into God’s shoes and pass out who is deserving of forgiveness. He is completely in charge in this area. So, it would be wise to allow God to handle his affairs without our input.

I constantly found myself struggling to forgive others. Once, I “changed addresses” and forgave myself, that is when I was finally able to begin the process of forgiving others. Forgiveness has been a process. It has not always been easy and there are some hurts that are hard to move past. I get it. I have housed some hurts for a long time. I became resentful and angry. This resentfulness and anger always kept me at bay. I could never really find true joy because of harboring anger and resentment. This stole my time and energy. Forgiveness is a decision. We need to decide to let go and move on. The struggles with forgiveness are typically related to someone taking an offense to a certain situation as to what someone said or did. This can wreak havoc if you let the offense settle and take up residency within the walls of your home. We need to change the course and not let an offense be fed and occupy any additional space. This is why forgiveness is so powerful. We need to take a little lesson from our friends Elsa and Anna and we just need to “Let it go.”

Forgiveness is something that I will be focusing on and working on in 2022. I am going to really work hard on letting things go and not allowing a simple offense take up residency in my heart. Let’s focus on healing and forgiving ourselves so we can in turn forgive others and grow in our relationship with Jesus.  We have an amazing opportunity as believers for the promises of a New Year. There is so much freedom in forgiveness. Let’s use 2022 to speak life into ourselves and each other.