You grew up in the church, and the subject of forgiveness was a common sermon topic. But, did you know there are five unbelievable forgiveness myths you believe to be fact? It’s true! So, before you click on another blog, check out the truth behind the false beliefs about forgiveness. You may find a new way to freedom from unforgiveness you’ve been carrying so long.
Forgiveness Myths #1: Forgiveness Lets Him* Off the Hook
Um, guess what? No! It doesn’t! Forgiveness lets YOU off the hook!
Unfortunately, you don’t understand how forgiveness works. It was never meant to give freedom to the one you need to forgive. Although the offender may feel amnesty, the genuine freedom is yours. For him to receive full forgiveness, repentance through prayer must take place. But isn’t up to you – it is between him and God.Forgiveness lets YOU off the hook! Click To Tweet
See, if you’re angry at someone for hurting you, you’re not bothering him with your anger. You’re hurting yourself both emotionally and physically. It’s like stabbing yourself and expecting him to die. If it’s an old wound, the person may not even know, let alone care, about how you feel today. Don’t waste your emotions on someone who isn’t thinking about you. You walk about with the pain of unforgiveness wreaking havoc on all areas of your life, including your relationships. The concept is especially important to comprehend if you’ve been the victim of a crime and didn’t know the offender. Don’t let his choice take away your healing – forgive him for your freedom.
Reality: Forgiving him doesn’t let him off the hook. He still has to answer to God.
Forgiveness Myths #2: Forgiveness Means You Trust Him
Do you need to forgive someone you trusted in the past? Then, grasp this reality: Forgiveness doesn’t mean you must confide in the person. Yep, that’s right; I said it.
Although over time trust can be rebuilt within an on-going relationship, the choice made to break your confidence must meet with natural consequences. The penalty falls in line with restoring your trust. But it’s not about holding anything against the one who hurt you. If the relationship cannot be rebuilt, go back to myth #1 and remember forgiveness is about letting you off the hook.
Reality: Forgiving him doesn’t mean you must trust him.Forgiving him doesn’t mean you must trust him. Click To Tweet
Forgiveness Myths #3: Forgiveness Means Warm Fuzzy Feelings are Restored
Only you know what happened throughout your life and the pain you’ve experienced. When it’s time to forgive someone known to you, someone you’ve loved, the belief is you must feel okay again right away. The thought stops you from forgiving because you cannot begin to imagine yourself with those warm fuzzy feelings…ever. So, instead of giving yourself freedom from the pain, you hang on to it dwelling on your victim-status. But, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forgive him anyway.Feelings follow the action, so take action to forgive. Click To Tweet
If you believe you could never love him again, I have some advice for you: Love-Follows-Action. When a person starts doing things for another human being, the doer begins to feel love for the other person…it’s a natural phenomenon. Love does not usually come first, but only after you start to do things for him. But, if you’ve done all you can do and you’re fed up, check out this fantastic book called “The Love Dare” from the movie Fireproof and put into practice the 40-day dare to love him again.
A final word on this subject: God does not call us to “like” people, but to love people. Let your actions show you are a child of God (I John 3:18-20). It takes his power poured into us through the Holy Spirit to love others, especially those who have hurt us.
Reality: Warm and Fuzzy feelings don’t come back automatically after forgiveness, but feelings follow the action, so take action to forgive.
Forgiveness Myths #4: Forgiveness Heals All Wounds
Only God heals all wounds. Sometimes it is a matter of time, and sometimes the healing comes instantly. The Bible tells us we don’t know his thoughts, ways, or timing. Even the saying “Time heals all wounds” is a false statement. I used to own a refrigerator magnet that read, “Time wounds all heals.” That made more sense to me.God heals all wounds as you give Him your pain by the act of forgiveness. Click To Tweet
Forgiveness doesn’t heal the wounds, but your willingness to give your pain to God does. Your desire to stop holding the one responsible for every bad thing in your life and subsequently handing them over to God’s revenge is what starts the healing process (Romans 12:19).
Reality: God heals all wounds as you give Him your pain by the act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness Myths #5: Forgiveness Means Forgetting
Myth #5 is my favorite because there is an ancient saying “Forgive and forget.” It’s so old that many Christians believe it is a verse in the Bible. (It’s not, but you can go looking if you want.)
So, if you can’t forgive and forget how do you get over the hurt and pain?
I’m glad you asked!Once you offer forgiveness, the pain chain breaks Click To Tweet
First, you don’t want to minimize the seriousness of the hurtful event. It’s OK not to say “It’s Ok. I’m fine.” You’re not okay and what happened to you did hurt. Don’t minimize how you feel about it.
Second, you are a human being with an automatic movie reel in your brain. It plays back the stuff you like and the stuff you dislike all the time. You cannot erase events from your memory. God gave you a beautiful mind to remember all He has done. Honestly, He wants you to remember the bad so that He can heal you from it. Once you offer forgiveness, the pain chain breaks. The event doesn’t get erased, but you’ll be able to think about the incident without feeling the pain associated with it. That’s how you stop feeling the hurt and pain.
Jesus is the healer. As he opens the eyes of your heart to a new perspective on the one who needs forgiveness, you’ll be ready to forgive. Then Jesus can take the pain away.
Reality: You cannot forgive and forget. But through true forgiveness, the pain chain connected to the event permanently breaks.
Maybe you’re not sure about forgiveness. You’ve said over and over you can never forgive him for what he’s done. The truth of the matter is God cannot forgive you for your sins if you hold unforgiveness in your heart (Matthew 6:15). He already forgave you of your sins by sacrificing His son Jesus Christ. But for future sins, He forgives someone with a clear conscience.
It is possible you don’t recognize the silent killer of unforgiveness. Follow this link Stop Unforgiveness From Killing You and open your eyes to its adverse effects. Between understanding the effects of unforgiveness and busting forgiveness myths, you’ll find yourself in the perfect position to reach out for God’s help to forgive.