Offering forgiveness to others is one of the most difficult and important aspects of the Christian life. The Bible clearly commands us to forgive others. God longs to fashion us into his likeness that we might model the love we’ve been shown to a world with no concept of mercy. He longs for us to offer grace and forgiveness to the undeserving as we have been offered grace and forgiveness when we were undeserving. May you be filled with courage and boldness to offer forgiveness to those in desperate need of grace. And may God’s love shine through as you enter into your calling as a minister of reconciliation.
All of us have experienced trial and pain. All of us are living life wounded and scarred. We learn to deal with our wounds and press forward, but whether we acknowledge it or not, wounds and scars change us. There are no perfect parents. There are no perfect friends. There are no perfect siblings or spouses. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect humans. We lash out and hurt others because we are broken and in need of healing.
One of the most critical spiritual exercises we can undergo is allowing God to heal our past wounds and guide us to a lifestyle of forgiving present scars. Without healing and forgiveness, other people’s mistakes will affect our future. Without the inner working of the Holy Spirit, we will live in continual suffering from the sins of others.
Our God is a God of healing. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 103:2-4 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Your heavenly Father longs to speak to the wounded places in your life and heal them with his love.
What past experience, trial, hurtful word, or person is still harmfully affecting your life today? Where do you need the Holy Spirit to come and speak healing over you? Where do you need to cry out to God in anger or frustration over a wound? Opening the wounded places of our hearts is an emotional and difficult process, but until we allow God into the harmful events of our pasts we will never experience true freedom and restoration from them. Until we allow ourselves space to deal with what for some have been harmful and defining moments, we will never experience the entirety of the abundant life available to us.
And as the Lord begins to heal our wounds, we must allow him to guide us to a lifestyle of forgiveness for our present scars. We must forgive those people who hurt us so the scars in our lives become symbols of God’s redeeming love rather than reminders of painful events. James 2:13 says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Show mercy to those who are undeserving of it just as your heavenly Father has shown you mercy. Love your enemies as Jesus did so that you can experience triumph instead of pain, freedom instead of enslavement to negativity, and joy instead of anger. May your heavenly Father be allowed to love you, hold you, and care for the places in your heart that need his healing touch the most.
1. Meditate on God’s desire to heal your wounds. Allow Scripture to fill you with courage to open your heart to the Spirit, and let him provide healing today.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he wants to heal today. What wound is affecting your life? Where do you need God to speak his truth and love over you?
3. Open your heart to the Lord and ask him to speak truth and love to your wound. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal your wounds in whatever way he desires. Trust and follow his leadership.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” Psalm 103:2-4
Receiving healing for wounds and the courage to forgive present scars is a constant process. There will always be more for the Lord to heal. There will always be new wounds the Lord wants to speak to. If you will allow the Lord to faithfully love and heal your wounds, you will experience abundant life to greater depths than you thought possible. May you be filled with newfound courage and freedom today in response to the overwhelming love and power of your heavenly Father.
Extended Reading: Psalm 147