One of the hardest things for most people to do is to forgive someone of something they have done wrong. It’s hard to just let it go or forget about the transgression or wrong doing. This is not me talking about an important topic but one that I have lived. For too long, it was hard for me to forgive others but it was also hard for me to forgive myself. In fact, forgiving myself was harder than forgiving others, in most instances, because I expected more of myself.

That’s not to say that I did not have expectations for others but, often times, we grow into a mold where we believe that we should have seen things coming rather than being so blinded. Typically, this is because the signs were right in front of us or the red flags were there. This is not always the case as people are good liars and they are able to manipulate others very well and unfortunately, I have been manipulated into doing things and helping people that I should not have.

This is an area of life that most people are able to relate to. Sadly, there are a lot of people who make their living at doing others wrong. They get a rush from it, some type of high, or they honestly feel that they are unable to get things any other way. Either way, it’s a sad type of life to live because, some day, they are going to have to answer for these trespasses. God is clear that we all have a judgment and we will answer for our actions. God is a forgiving and merciful God but that does not mean that He just looks the other way.

[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

—Romans 8:1

Forgiveness, that’s something that God is clear about. We all must do it and there is no exception to the rule. Do people do things that are unforgivable? By our standards, yes, absolutely but not according to God and His higher standards: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men” (Matthew 12:31). The same standards that God lives by are the same standards that He wants us to live by, as well, and this includes forgiveness.

When I was younger, I did not always look at my sin but rather, the wrongs of others. This is something that most people do. When someone wrongs them, they are quick to point it out but they are quick to forget what they have done. There are things that people do that we ask ourselves, how? How could a person do such a thing and these activities include murder, abduction, robbery, and on and on. People have lied to me, taken away peace and understanding, stolen physical possessions and played with my emotions but the same is true for me as I have done a lot of wrong to other individuals.

Recently, the death [I’m not buying the suicide story] of Jeffrey Epstein really brought to light the wrongdoings of many influential people in high places, all across the world, including not just pedophilia but human trafficking and both are truly beyond my understanding. God wants us to forgive such actions but if you’re a parent of one of these children, how do you forgive? How do you simply let it go? We, as people, have hard enough time forgive a lie or misunderstanding let alone such a heinous activity but God does want us to forgive others of all things:

if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

—1 John 1:8-9

There was a time when the people had done wrong; God would require a sacrifice of their flock. We also know about the sacrificial animal but this was not enough. The blood of an animal could not wipe away all things that man had done to God. While the blood of the animal was not meant to pay for our sins, it was used until a better sacrifice could be offered to pay for such sins. As we know, that sacrifice would come in the form of God’s own blood through Christ but with forgiveness, many people, including myself, tend to forget about why Christ wants us to forgive these people and their trespasses.

Yes, we have all sinned and done wrong so it’s not necessarily “do unto others as you want done unto you;” or an act of accountability as it is a way of letting go of all the toxicity that holding on to the wrongdoing causes you. This is another part of the picture that I can relate greatly with. Holding on to the anger and bitterness that comes from doing so leads to much greater feelings and emotions including sorrow, sadness, anxiety, and depression, to name just a few. Holding on to these things will not allow us to calmly and peacefully move on to the next chapter of life and one of the best examples of this is with a serious relationship that goes sour.

Trust me, I’ve been here. Never before had I known what a good relationship was until recently and before then, all of my relationships had been toxic. It is unfair to place all the blame at the feet of just one party and to be fair, I will not. The biggest problem in these relationships had to do with being unequally yoked. Scripture warns us against being unequally yoked together for a reason and while the warning signs were there, I did not heed them and it did not work. My current relationship, the yoking together is equal and while things are still difficult; it’s human life, after all, we have that common bond of Jesus Christ. However, with the others, when things went south, anger and bitterness was a part of the equation as is most often the case.

If you take the resentment of the failures and the wrongdoing of the other person into a new relationship, the new one will either fail or it will be made much more difficult. Personally, I learned this the hard way but I have also witnessed this on many different occasions. Christ wants us to forget about these things and learn from them by letting them go so we can move on from them. This does not mean that we have to allow the other party back into our lives but rather, we are to let it go. Letting it go helps us ease away from the pain and hurt that was caused and allows us to do more rather than being burdened down by the enormous weight that is caused by lugging around such a heavy burden.

Letting these things go does not mean that you are weak or that what the other party did was somehow right. Rather, it means that you are no longer going to allow the situation or the other person to control your life. When I think back to the different times when I would not let go, I remember feeling the burden of the weight that I was carrying around. Yes, I would pray and ask God to make a way but typically, before He is able to, we have to let go of this weight. How are you able to receive relief if you are still holding on to what hurt you? This is a lesson that I learned the hard way which is how I seem to learn most of my lessons. When we let these things go, it’s not necessarily for the other person but it’s more about us.

Next time, just remember the burden that Christ took on when He came to Earth knowing to die for our sins. Not just my sins but your sins, as well. Christ has forgiven each and every one of us and all that He asks from us is that we accept Him and trust in Him and when we think about it, this is the best example of forgiveness and the ultimate lesson of love.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

—Ephesians 4:32

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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