Faith and Forgiveness

Faith and Forgiveness

Read the Scriptures, and everywhere you see stressed the importance of faith. Faith is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus. As mentioned in Hebrews 11:6, it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is mentioned in the Bible over 200 times. It is faith that moves mountains. It is faith that will give you the strength to forgive, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Nearly every saint in history has had dark moments and moments of despair. Mother Teresa, in her letters to confessors and confidants, revealed many challenging times of travail. She wrote, “I have no faith, I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart and make me suffer untold agony.” She even said her constant smile was a “mask or cloak that covers everything.”  Perhaps you feel that way now. To the world everything is wonderful but inside you feel darkness, hopelessness and despair. Saint Therese of Lisieux described her doubt as a “night of nothingness.”

Our suffering is part of our journey for increased faith and gives us the strength to forgive ourselves and others. We know that God is molding and perfecting us in His image. We are being shaped by the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and souls.  

“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

All the suffering, doubt, fear and lack of forgiveness can and will be used by Christ to increase our faith. However, it is up to us to say “yes” to our molding by Christ into ambassadors of love and forgiveness.

Often we know we should forgive, we want to forgive, but we don’t have the faith to forgive. We think that things will get worse if we forgive those who have hurt us. The essence of this dilemma is fear, fear that we will be seen to be weak to ourselves and others and be taken advantage of to our dismay.  However, fear and lack of forgiveness is never bigger than God’s love.  

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

We have to always remember that God is love. 

“God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

To be healed of our lack of forgiveness, we must increase our love and faith. In order to do that, we must plead for God’s mercy and ask for more faith and love. Do we believe without seeing or are we like the Apostle Thomas? Do we have the faith of the centurion? Do we believe that our prayers will make a difference in our ability to forgive?

One of the most important aspects of our spiritual growth is to pray and expect that God hears us and wants to bless us with more faith. If we pray and expect the miracle of faith, we can be assured that we will get it! 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord since he is a man of two minds, unstable in his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

By learning how to pray and ask for faith we learn to live this Scripture: “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

This faith will enable us to forgive and heal ourselves of the poison of animosity, grudges and lack of forgiveness, and transform our lives forever to receive the blessings that God has in store for us. Think of how long you have had this pain of not forgiving someone or yourself. Isn’t it time to change our behavior and finally get peace in our hearts? Pray for the miracle that God wants to give you!  

“Therefore, I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe you will receive it and it shall be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

“We have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.” (1 John 5: 14-15)

How much do we believe that God will heal us of our lack of forgiveness? Do we have the faith that God’s promises will come into our hearts? There were two blind men who heard that Jesus was a healer and called out to Jesus when He was passing by them.  

“Two blind men followed [Jesus], crying out, ‘Son of David, have pity on us!’ … Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they said to him.  Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And their eyes were opened.’” (Matthew 9:27-30)

This Scripture is extremely important in our striving for holiness. How big is our God? Do you feel that God is more powerful than the stronghold of our lack of forgiveness? Do we expect miracles in our lives? Do we have the faith to move the mountain of our emotional pain?  

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

I have been blessed in my life and ministry to see many miracles through having faith. One in particular was very impactful to me. We were on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and with us was a woman with a dislocated shoulder. The injury had occurred just the day before the trip, but she still wanted to go.  I knew God wanted to do a miracle with her. On the second day on the trip, the Lord came to me in front of one of the churches and told me to pray for her and that He would heal her. I asked her the question that Jesus asked the blind men: “do you believe that Jesus can heal you?” I will never forget what she said and how she said it. She looked at me, paused, her eyes widened and she almost shouted, “I do believe!” I then prayed fervently over her shoulder for about 30 seconds. I could see in her face how much she believed. She looked at me and suddenly, with an arm that previously couldn’t be lifted above her waist, raised it above her head and started shouting, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!” Praise God! Now and forever!  Another miracle for the Lord!

Yes, God does physical miracles, but how about emotional miracles and miracles of forgiveness? Is it possible to begin loving someone who has hurt us deeply and who we have not forgiven? I wanted to forgive my father for his ignoring me, abusing me emotionally and hurting me physically.

I prayed fervently for the grace to forgive him. A critical part of the process was that I expected that God would give me the grace to forgive him and love him like I wanted to as his son.  Another critical step was that I acted as if I had received this miracle of forgiveness even if at first I didn’t feel like it. I began to see him regularly when he was bedridden and started loving him in a way that I had not done previously. The more that I performed loving acts of tenderness and forgiveness, the more that I actually forgave him. God was healing me of a deep wound!

None of this is easy. You need endurance and perseverance to do God’s will and receive what He wants to give you.  

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.  You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10: 35-36)

There will be so many times that you feel like giving up. Your emotional hurt is so deep that you don’t think it is worth it.  This is a lie of the enemy who wants to hold you in bondage. Freedom comes through forgiveness. It is the forgiveness of Jesus that has set up free of the bondage of sin.

It is extremely important that you stay the course and realize that God is healing you no matter whether or not the circumstances look like it. By faith we know that all things work for good.  

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God uses everything in our lives to shape and mold us and bring us closer to Him.

Do not give up! God’s blessings are right around the corner. There is so much pain and suffering when we are in a relationship that has turned to bitterness and even hatred. God’s love is there to heal our wounds and heal us of our lack of forgiveness. He will never abandon us.  

“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelming through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35, 37-39)

We know that damaged relationships usually involve both parties doing things that are harmful and hurtful. Take responsibility for your actions and things said that hurt the relationship. Ask for forgiveness and apply the gift of humility. This is true even if you feel that the other person is much more at fault.

God wants you to live a life of holiness, abundance and joy. When you are healed of your issues with forgiveness, you are well on the way! It takes faith to believe that God is healing you and your relationships. Ask for the faith that moves mountains and transforms relationships and expect miracles!

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Written by
Deacon Steve Greco