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
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
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
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
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.