God calls His children to live lives of forgiveness

Learning to forgive, as God forgives, helps you to grow into a mature, content, and joyful person. It glorifies God because it shows that He is more satisfying to your soul than revenge. Forgiveness empowers you to take control over your own life and stop allowing the actions of others to dictate your attitudes, actions, emotions and moods. It is one of life's most important lessons, yet it takes some people a lifetime to learn it.

If there is a circumstance in your life in which you need to forgive someone, take a deep breath, ask God for help, and release it. Some may think that forgiving makes one weak—a doormat, or a pushover. However, making the choice to forgive is not a passive act of weakness. Rather, it is an assertive activity, driven by a conscious preference to be the kind of person who strives to reflect God in everyday life. It is far easier to give in to the childish urge to hold onto anger than it is to choose the mature, loving path of forgiveness. It takes a strong person to forgive.

You cannot live in the present and create the future if you are dwelling on the past

Making the powerful choice to forgive is a liberating, defining moment in which one takes back control over one's life and emotions. You do not have to condone someone's behavior, or even agree with her point of view or choices. You can cut someone out of your life. You can divorce him, move away, and even sever all contact. But you will never be free of the pain until you find a way to forgive that person. She does not have to be present in your life in order for you to forgive her. Just realize that you will never transcend the circumstances that caused you so much pain and agony until you choose to forgive.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." 
~ Lewis B. Smedes  

Deborah J. Thompson is a writer, artist and Stephen Minister. Please visit her website http://www.inspiredreflections.info/ for additional "Reflections" on Life and Marriage. She has just finished the first draft of her first book, Your Life, Your Choice, which gives 5 simple steps to harness the power of your choices and bring more Love, Joy and Peace into your life. She can be reached at reflecting@me.com.

Photo credit: Deborah J. Thompson

Original publication date: September 24, 2009