Joyce Meyer was repeatedly abused by her father sexually. Thinking salvation had arrived one day when her mother bumped into the room, her pains deepened as the mother never said a word about it nor stopped her husband. She grew up with a low self esteem and with bitterness towards her father. God will later demand that she not only take care of her father and mother, but buy them a home to live in.
In Luke 17:1-5, the Lord Jesus told his disciples how they would have to forgive infinitely no matter how many times they were offended in a day. Realizing how difficult that would be, they prayed “Lord increase our Faith” . It takes Faith in God to forgive the undeserving. This type of forgiveness rises above the hurt and the pain of the offence and taps into the Grace of God to set the offender free. This is Faith in the power of the indwelling Christ(Colossians 1:27b) by whom we can do all things that may be impossible in the natural (Philippians 3:13). Left to our feelings, we will not forgive. When offended, we feel pained, angry, resentful and vengeful. However, these emotions are contrary to the instructions of scripture to pursue peace with all men(Hebrews 12:14, Romans 12:18). We have to choose to walk by Faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith takes its direction from the Word of God and not from the physical senses. This decision of Faith entrusts personal feelings to the Grace of God which is capable of mending our broken hearts.
True forgiveness believes that according to the Word of God the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, giving us the capacity for supernatural love and forgiveness(Romans 5:5). The instruction of Paul is to forgive others as God in Christ forgave us. This forgiveness is total, unconditional and perpetual. Such is beyond the natural and only possible by the Spirit of Christ who lives within us. The reliance of Faith is always on the Grace of God and never on human ability. In facing a challenge beyond his power(a thorn in the flesh), Paul sought the Lord whose answer to him was “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”(2 Corinthians 12.9). When we reach the end of our abilities, God’s supernatural strength takes over. God’s Grace stretches us beyond our human limitations.
Faith speaks in line with the Word of God. It declares I forgive your traducement of my person. I forgive those who hurt me. It mentions their names and declares they are forgiven for the evil they have done even when it does not feel like it. Faith prays for those who despitefully use us(Matthew 5:44) and blesses those who curse us (Romans 12:14). It does not render evil for evil, railing for railing but instead blessing(1 Peter 3:9). It makes declarations in line with the Word of God and His love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Statements like ‘I can never forgive Victor, I will never forgive Victoria’ are not in line with real forgiveness. In the process of praying and blessing people, our hearts are melted and mended by the love of God. God taught me long ago to pray for people when they have hurt me and I discovered that the flesh is subdued during that process. Praying and blessing rid the heart of feelings of anger, hatred, and resentment.
True forgiveness reflects on the love of God and accordingly extends the same grace to others who have offended us. God has forgiven us ALL our trespasses in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:13-14, Ephesians 1:7). Forgiveness is always available for us at all times and so must we also be forgiving at all times. The Lord Jesus asking us to forgive 70 X 7 in a day means we should forgive infinitely and it’s possible. Through our hurts and pains, through our tears and sighs, we can reach into the depths of our hearts for the grace to let go and let God!