“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)
The Bible says that the greater the offense, the greater the need to forgive your offender in order to go on with your life. Remember when you were growing up, how your parents would tell you to close the door? That’s because in winter you were letting in the cold and in summer you were letting in the heat. Forgiveness shuts the door on your past! Paul, who martyred Christians before becoming one, writes, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching … unto those things which are before.” Only when you release your grip on the past can you secure your grip on the future.
Forgetting is a decision, one you sometimes have to make daily or even hourly. Bottom line: you need to forgive every time the issue that’s hurting you rears its head (see Matthew 18:21-22). Complete healing can take months or years. When someone hurts you deeply, you must purpose in your heart to keep forgiving them until you’re free from their influence. No matter what they took from you through abuse, abandonment, betrayal, manipulation, or deceit, bitterness will take more! Like making a rod for your own back, un-forgiveness lets the person who hurt you keep doing it. So until the issue is resolved, you may have to get down on your knees every day and pray, “Lord, by an act of my will, I forgive ________ and ask You to bless them. I’m turning them over to You and getting on with my life.” There’s no shortcut — it’s the only path to freedom!
Heavenly Father, help me forgive and release those who have hurt me in the past and move on. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.