A Devotional on Forgiveness by Morgan Holland

My good friend Morgan has been a faithful Christian for five years. I’ve known her since she was a college freshman at our university! I was lucky enough to be in the same bible discussion group my senior year with her for a semester. She also did a ton of calligraphy for my wedding + help decorate. Morgan is grounded, smart and talented! She is currently serving as a youth and family leader alongside her soon-to-be husband in Virginia.

Morgan is about to be a married woman! She has faced some challenges recently because of COVID-19 but she’s been conquering all of it and trusting God with her wedding plans. I am excited for her and her fiance’s upcoming virtual nuptials THIS WEEKEND!!!

Here is her devotional on F O R G I V E N E S S.


Forgiveness

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 

Forgiveness is a topic that is relevant to every single person alive today. Our world is fallen, and sin crouches around everywhere. Everyone has experienced being sinned against; some more than others, and some more deeply than others.

The need for forgiveness is so dynamic! A lot of times, God exposes deep needs within our hearts to work through parts of our past that we’ve forgotten about, or that we’ve shoved deep down so that we would purposely forget. More often than not, working through those deep hurts brings about a need for forgiveness. You might even find that you need to forgive yourself for ways you have sinned against yourself or others!

— Take a minute to journal about a time where someone sinned against you. It could be recent, it could have happened a long time ago. Explore the situation.

How did you respond in the moment?

Does thinking about that memory send a pang of frustration or anger through your heart? Or, do you feel totally emotionless or numb about the situation?

Sometimes sin can cause trauma. Journaling about your emotions surrounding a situation where someone sinned against you can help you or a more spiritually mature friend understand the direction of moving forward to experience the freedom of forgiveness. 

The truth is, as Christians, we are called to forgive.

Read Matthew 6:14-15

— According to Jesus’ words, how necessary is it to forgive others?

— What lengths are you willing to go to, to forgive someone? 

— What might stop you from forgiving?

Our motivation behind forgiving someone is what helps us to forgive. If we do not have the right motivation in forgiveness, then we won’t ever truly forgive ourselves or others! 

Jesus shows us the perfect example of forgiveness.

His mindset towards people all the time was one of love. He understood where others were coming from, and he understood the basic principle that people sinned. People sin, and therefore people get hurt. Knowing this didn’t cause Jesus to become cynical and closed off; rather, Jesus chose to have compassion on others:

Matthew 9:36 – When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Matthew 14:14 – When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

This next scripture really reflects Jesus’ crazy love! He was ON THE CROSS, asking God to forgive the soldiers below who had just crucified them. Jesus understood the human condition, and he responded with love.

Luke 23:34 – Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

— When injustice happens to you, are you quick to respond in love? Do you put yourself aside like Jesus did and focus on the greater goal?

— Do you see forgiveness as an act of love? Take some time to journal through some things God has forgiven you for and reflect on God’s great love for you. Think about the lengths that God has gone for you and thank him for it!

Jesus understood what was in the hearts of men. Do a google search on “Jesus knows the hearts of men” and plenty of scriptures pop up from the gospels where, time and time again, Jesus knew what was going on in their hearts.

In knowing all of us, Jesus understood that dying for us was not going to stop us from sinning. He knew we were broken, and yet he chose to commit the greatest act of love. We were his enemies, and he chose to love and forgive us, knowing that we would mess up again and again. When we love others the way Jesus did, we will forgive knowing that the other person will, in all reality, sin against us again. 

Read Luke 17:3-4.

— How does it make you feel when you read that you must forgive?

— Do you have conditional forgiveness? Does your forgiveness only go so far as being sinned against once?

— Have you ever taken away your forgiveness from someone because they sinned against you again?

— What would happen if Jesus took his forgiveness away from you?

PRACTICALS

The first thing you can do when you know you need to forgive someone is pray!

Read Mark 11:25 

Here are some ideas of what you could pray about:

— Pray that God would help you have a deeper understanding of His heart towards forgiveness. 

— Pray that God would help you forgive.

— Pray that God would help you see how much He loves the person who wronged you.

— Pray that He would help you see how much He loves YOU.

Another thing you can do is grab a spiritually seasoned individual who knows your heart and talk through things. Ask them for advice on how to go about forgiving those who have wronged you. 

FUNDAMENTALS OF FORGIVENESS

— Forgiveness involves choosing to see someone through God’s eyes. 

— Forgiveness is about bringing unity and peace into a place where there was once hurt and pain.

— It IS possible to forgive without ever receiving an apology. Your forgiveness of someone else’s sin to you does not hinge on how THEY feel about the situation. Your forgiveness is a choice YOU make. 

— Forgiveness is NOT an allowance to let someone sinfully take advantage of you. If you are in an unhealthy friendship or relationship with someone, get advice from someone who is spiritually mature on what it would look like to go about forgiveness and also maintain healthy boundaries. Sometimes relationships need to change in order for there to be healing. 

Learning forgiveness is a journey. It might take time to truly forgive. It might take therapy. It will definitely take prayer. And all of that is okay! The most important part is that you make the commitment to fight for forgiveness, the way that Jesus lovingly and passionately fought for you. 

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

HELPFUL SCRIPTURES

> Hebrews 12:14

> John 16:33

> Colossians 3:12-14

> Matthew 6:14-15

> Mark 11:25

> Luke 23:34

> Luke 17:3

Morgan Holland