• hannahhogan221

Forgiveness From the Heart

We have discussed forgiveness on this podcast in prior episodes. How could we

be a podcast about breakups without at least touching on the power of

forgiveness? After all, forgiveness is a huge component of moving on from

heartbreak, trauma, pain and disappointment. When we forgive, we unpack the

heavy burdens laid upon us, take them off our shoulders and step boldly into our

futures. Nothing can hold us back more from peace than unforgiveness.


In the book of Matthew, we read about Peter questioning Jesus on forgiveness.

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as

seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven

times.”


And then Jesus goes into the parable of a king who decided to settle his debts

with his servants. One of his debtors owed him a huge debt. His master wanted to

sell him and his family to pay for the debt, but the man begged and pleaded for

patience from the king assuring him he would pay him back. The king felt

compassion upon him and forgave him his loan. Later, this debtor found his own

servant who owed him money, a much smaller amount, and cruelly demanded he

be paid back. He didn’t show the same mercy that was shown to him. Word got

back to the king of this man’s actions and he summoned the man back to his

chambers. Matthew 19:32 reads, “You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire

debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow

servant, as I had pity on you?” Then in anger his master handed him over to the

torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.” “So will my Heavenly Father do

to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”


When I first learned of this passage in the Bible, it hit me really hard. It is an

illustration of how the Lord always forgives us, yet we do not always show others

the same compassion. How can we expect to be blessed when we won’t share the

grace that has been given to us? How can we find Mr. or Mrs. Right when we are

so focused on Mr. and Miss Can’t Get it Right?


It can be so hard to forgive people who have hurt us especially when that hurt

comes in the form of trauma. We choose to harden our hearts against our

perpetrators subconsciously believing it will protect us from them or a similar hurt

again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.


When we harden our hearts and refuse to forgive the people who have hurt us, we

open a door into our lives for the evil one to torment us. Satan has an army of evil


spirits who are waiting in the wings to feast on us. All they need is access...how do

they get access? Our permission. Our permission comes in through a variety of

ways and for the sake of this episode, we will focus on unforgiveness.


In the verse I just shared, the king is the Lord. The unforgiving servant is us. The

torturers are Satan’s army. Matthew 19:34. “Then in anger his master handed him

over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.” Matthew 19:35. “So

will my Heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his

heart.”


When we don’t forgive from the heart, there is a price to pay and that price comes

in demonic oppression. Ever hear the phrase, “unforgiveness is like drinking

poison and expecting the other person to get sick”? This is it. This is why.


I will use an example of my own life and what I have experienced this year while

maintaining as much privacy as I can for the people involved. Earlier this summer,

my parents needed me more than they ever have. My parents and I are very close.

We have had a lot of up and downs. Last year, we had a bit of a falling out for

several months, but this year we have worked very hard at renewing our

relationship. It was something I was constantly having to take to the Lord. I had to

learn how to set boundaries with my parents without harboring resentment toward

them and the Lord had to really walk me through it. I didn’t want to have a

hardened heart toward them, but I also wanted distance. Once my parents started

needing me this summer, I encountered some pushback from some other people in

my life.


There were people in my life who didn’t want to help me with my family. They

chose to stick their head in the sand and look the other way.


There were also people in my life who wanted me to come to them for help when

my family needed it and no one else. I was told because I wasn’t reaching out to

them I was “weird” or I clearly had an attraction to a friend I had reached out to. It

was dramatic and unnecessary. It was also stressful and hurtful to have my

intentions questioned when I was coming to grips with my parents’ mortality.

They’re not dying, but they are in their late seventies and things happen and

suddenly you realize your parents aren’t going to live forever and you won’t be as

prepared emotionally as you thought you would be when the time came.


I decided to let these people out of my life. It hurt. It wasn’t an easy decision. I lost

a lot of sleep over it. I prayed over it constantly but the Lord was showing me their

hearts and moving them out of my life. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t angry. I

was very angry, even livid at times: to have felt abandoned by some people, to

have to fight this fight with my family by myself and also to having my intentions


questioned by another group of people. In the end, I had to weigh the benefits at

the time of keeping these people in my life. In a moment of crisis, when someone

brings stress and compounds an already difficult situation with unnecessary strife:

we have to forgive them, pray for them, and sometimes let them go. It doesn’t

mean we are angry. It just means we had to do what was best for us. The goal is

peace.


I found it very hard to forgive during this season. It was something I was praying

over everyday: Lord, help me forgive. I want to forgive. I don’t want to judge them.

I want to move on. And then I remembered forgiveness from the heart. And what

does forgiveness from the heart actually mean?


Forgiveness from the heart is compassion. It is choosing to look at the people who

hurt us as other people who are hurting. What helps me is seeing them as wide-

eyed children who one day had their innocence stolen and their hearts hardened.


The enemy stole from them. He is who we should be mad at. He creates strife in

our families. He causes us lost friendships and broken relationships.

When the focus of my anger changed from them to him, my heart began to fill with

understanding toward the people who hurt me. I genuinely felt sad for them and

my spirit felt lighter. No, I do no contact them. Will I ever? Probably not. We can

forgive people and they don’t need to hear about it.


When our relationships end, it can be very easy to harden our hearts toward the

other person, especially if they wronged us. If you are coming out of a relationship

filled with blame, anger, and resentment know that it is your responsibility to

forgive and let it go. It isn’t attractive. No one wants to start a relationship with

someone who is oozing with bitterness from the one before her or him. It’s no fun

going out on a date with someone who is running a smear campaign against their

ex. If you really want to move on with your love life or life in general, learn to

forgive. Your future cannot begin if you’re stuck holding onto the past.



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