One of the hardest things to do is to forgive.
It isn’t easy to forgive someone who has hurt you, someone who has betrayed you, someone you has stolen from you.
It also isn’t easy to forgive ourselves.
To forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made and the regrets we have of things we didn’t say or didn’t do. Most of the time we can’t forgive ourselves because we believe we aren’t worth being forgiven.
But that’s where we are wrong.
We are able to forgive.
We are able to forgive others and ourselves because through Jesus we have been forgiven.
We have been redeemed.
We have been set free.
We no longer have to hold onto unforgivness, bitterness and hurt. Choosing not to forgive, holds us and our hearts in deep bitterness.

But let me clarify something I mentioned above; We are forgiven because of Jesus and what He did for us. We do not deserve forgiveness, in and of ourselves, but Jesus believes we do and through Him we are forgiven if we choose to be and receive His forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

That is such a beautiful thought, to me at least. That I no longer have to wallow in guilt and shame. I no longer have to bear the weight of the wrong I’ve done, but I am able to rejoice in what the King did, so that I may live with Him in freedom.

As I have chosen His forgiveness, I must now forgive others. For He calls me too,

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 
Ephesians 4:31-32

It may not happen over night, choosing to forgive those in our lives that have hurt us, but I can say, through His strength, it can be. But it’s up to you. It is up to you to choose to let go of unforgiveness and choose to forgive, as Jesus Christ forgave you.

And that is how I am able to forgive.
Because of Him.
For, I have nothing good in me other than Jesus Christ. I could not forgive if I did not have the hope and love of Him who died and rose again, so I could be wiped clean of all my sin and receive forgiveness – and those who have wronged me, deserve to be forgiven, for just as they may have wronged me, I have also wronged them. I have wronged others and I continue to. I continue to fall short and mess up, I don’t deserve the forgiveness of God but He still gives it to me and calls me His own. That is enough and it humbles me.

Because our story isn’t about our actions. Our story is about what Christ did for us. He gave us grace and took our punishment. He made a way for a relationship with us. He died so that we could be forgiven.

Gods grace is deeper than we may know. It may seem unfair, but yet it is good. We may look at others and wonder how they are forgiven but yet it gives me hope because I am no better than them. The fact that they can be forgiven, gives me such joy as to think our Gods grace runs deep and His forgiveness is for all of us, even the least of these.

About two months ago, my beautiful mare Agape, two kicked me. I cornered her out of anger and frustration and out of her own fear, she turned around and kicked me with both hind feet.

The first few days were hard, as I watched her so fearful and broken.
The relationship we had begun to strengthen had been torn.
Although I said I forgave her, it still took time for me to truly let it go and no longer hold it against her. Because I still loved her and I knew how she reacted was because of my reaction. But I knew it was going to be harder for her to forgive me and trust me again.

And it has been. It has taken two months to start working things through with her. For her to see me as someone who loves her and will protect her, rather than hurt her.
I have had to check my heart as I work with her, to make sure that I am coming to her humbled and willing to work with her – mending what has been broken and praying that the Lord makes all things right as He wills.

For you see, the Lord continues to work on us even when we try to hide from Him.
Even in our guilt and shame, even in our broken relationships and untrusting hearts, He is there.
He knows us, He can see the hurt and pain within us, He see’s our poverty and yet still waits with us. Calling us to Him so we may be healed, we may be forgiven and so we may move on.

For choosing to forgive Agape has helped me to trust her again. To not see her as a horse that is dangerous and will always kick. I am able to see her as my beloved mare, who is wanting to trust again, wanting to love me and wanting to work with me. And she has shown me a glimpse of Father Gods heart, for she is forgiving even when she has no reason to be.

May you know that you are able to be forgiven, that you are able to be set free from all the guilt and shame you may feel. You are able to be forgiven for the things you have done and the hurt you may have caused, even within yourself.

I can say this, because I didn’t deserve to be forgiven and I thought I deserved to feel the guilt and shame I did – yet Jesus showed me differently, once I chose Him and came to see Him as my saving grace.   

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him
Daniel 9:9

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
Acts 3:9

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 1:7

The Cross by Jen Johnson 


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