So Just What is Forgiveness?

Here is a little sneak peak on forgiveness from my book, Shining Freely

I remember wanting to throw the book The Love Dare out the window or burn it – even better. I was deeply wounded in my marriage and I wasn’t about to be the first one to change. I remember thinking, “He doesn’t do this for me, why should I do this for him?” I didn’t want to let go of all my record of wrongs. Somehow it protected me, justified me. What I didn’t know then that I do know now, is all that holding on, only led to more of the same.

Marriage wasn’t what I expected. The truth is early on we wounded each other because we were wounded. The walking wounded – walk offended! He said things, I said things and our hearts were pierced. He didn’t do things I expected, and I was this weird emotional animal he couldn’t understand. I lived disappointed, he lived shamed. We trigger each other’s ugly cycle every time we peered through lenses clouded by our wounded moments. It wasn’t until I began to see him as he truly was that things began to change.

My husband and I were at a little, quaint Irish pub celebrating our 10 year anniversary, and in a moment of vulnerability he said to me, “You finally see me.” My heart sank and shattered into a puddle of tears as I sat staring in disbelief. I had been wanting him to be something he wasn’t and I’d missed out on who he truly was. Sometimes God brings you the person you need most, who will rub off the layers in your heart that are keeping you from becoming the person He wants you to be. But first we have to let go of offense and be willing to look at our reflection honestly.

The truth is what you don’t let go of, won’t let go of you. I had to seek God’s perspective about myself and my husband to let go of things that were killing my chances of having the marriage I dreamed of. There is no way around it, in this life we will experience moments of betrayal that cut us deeply, moments we can’t seem to forgive ourselves for, and moments we feel God has failed us.  I’ve realized, however, that there is a key that unlocks the door to freedom from these hurtful moments like no other. It’s called forgiveness. In order to Shine freely we need to embrace a lifestyle of forgiving our self, others, and even God for the moments in our lives that we have unanswered Whys.


Forgiveness is not forgetting, dismissing, excusing, and pretending it doesn’t hurt. Forgiveness is not necessarily reconciliation or continuing to submit to a relationship that is toxic and destructive. Forgiveness does not mean you silence your voice and let your boundaries be broken. Forgiveness is not approval of what someone did or justifying their actions. Forgiveness is most certainly not taking false responsibility for hurtful acts others committed at your expense!

Forgiveness is not just another Christian ritual or rule to be followed. We can get stuck into believing we need to prove that we are faithful Christians by making a blanket statement of forgiveness over those who hurt us while still holding on to self-hate, offense, and anger at God for allowing pain to occur. When we deny our hurt and say with our words we forgive, while holding un-forgiveness deep in our hearts we are not really forgiving. Ask yourself can I bless the person who hurt me or do I still think about them with contempt? Do I trust God with my life and believe even when things don’t go exactly as planned that He loves me? Can I let myself off the hook for things I have done or have happened to me or do I continually beat myself up for my mistakes? Your answers to these deeper questions may reveal a root of un-forgiveness.


Forgiveness is acknowledging the hurt without letting it define you. Forgiveness is a refusal to stay offended or seek to punish. Forgiveness is letting go of self-defense to trust in God’s protection. Forgiveness is refusing to hold onto a list of past wrongs committed. Forgiveness is a lifestyle of letting go of bitterness, resentment, and contempt –refusing to chew on its poison. Forgiveness is grace-filled towards oneself and others. Forgiveness is granting permission for others and ourselves to make mistakes. Forgiveness is an inner condition of the heart that seeks God’s perspective above all others. Forgiveness chooses to release the offender, despite the hurt, so that the enemy loses his ground in your heart (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

In the end, forgiveness is a lifestyle. Graham Cooke says, ” It is not your job to change people, only demonstrate what God is really like.”

What if we learned to walk in radical forgiveness instead of constant offense? What if we always sought God’s bigger picture – His view of the situation or person first? I am certain our lives would be vastly different!

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

Be Blessed – Be a LIGHT!

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