Forgiveness is something we all struggle doing from time to time. So, even though I knew I needed to read the book, Total Forgiveness, I was afraid of how my heart would feel...and yes, it convicted me in every way.
I first heard about the book on the radio from Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson and the author, R. T. Kendall, were talking about the topic of forgiveness and it caught my attention. At the time, I was dealing with forgiving others in my heart. When things happen that don't seem right or fair, it's hard to get past it. So many times I think of Joseph and how he was mistreated by his own brothers. He didn't hold onto it and God allowed him to be successful and to eventually help his family many years later.
In his book, the author explains how we should forgive others totally. It's hard to let go, isn't it? It's easy to point a finger and blame someone else for the way your life is going. It's easy to remember the pain day in and day out. But God doesn't want us to stay there! Just as He continually forgives and loves us, so we must forgive and love others. We can't worry about what others are doing (or aren't doing), but should obey God in this area ourselves. We shouldn't dwell on the past, or even continue to talk about it. If we need to forgive daily, then that's what we must do.
I've learned so much from this book, which gives so much Scripture and Biblical examples throughout its entirety. You see, sometimes those thoughts from the past have continued to cross my mind and stir up anger in my heart. I'm learning that forgiveness starts in the heart and must be acted upon daily. When we sin this way, it affects those around us. Besides wanting to obey God's command to simply forgive, the thought of my unforgiveness affecting my marriage, ministry and other relationships causes me to not want to stay there. It slows me down in what I should be doing as I dwell on the past. It's not a good place to be!
Even though the restoration of a relationship may not always happen, I'm constantly reminded of the verse in the Bible that says..."as much as lieth in you to be at peace with all men" (Romans 12:18b). It's up to me--not them--to be at peace, to forgive, to love. I'm accountable to God for my actions.
I believe if we took this topic of forgiveness more seriously, families and friendships would be better and the world would see that Christians truly love one another. It's amazing to me how petty and mean we can get because we choose not to forgive. Sickening, huh? But yet we act this way. Some day it will be too late--either you or them will pass into eternity without making things right. Let's choose to forgive totally today and honor God in the process.
I know I got a bit transparent in this post, but that's okay. We all struggle with things, and I wanted to share a great book that's been a huge help in my Christian walk. You can find the book on Amazon or any Christian bookstore. You've just got to read it!