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  • Writer's pictureConsider the Lily

3 Truths about Forgiveness

Updated: Jun 21

"Have you forgiven your perpetrator yet?” is often a question that our girls ask each other during testimony night, when the girls share their stories and then are able to ask questions afterwards. And this journey to forgiveness looks different for each one—some answer honestly with a “No, not yet,” while others share what it has looked like for them to forgive those who have sinned against them. Last night, I sat at the dinner table with a 13, 14, and 17 year old and asked them this question: “What have you learned about forgiveness through what has happened in your life?” And honestly I was pretty blown away by the wisdom and maturity in their answers. That alone is a huge testament to the work of God in their lives. So, I wanted to share three truths that I learned from those three girls about forgiveness with you all as well. 1. Forgiveness is something that Jesus commands of His followers. J, one of our 14 year olds, mentioned Matthew 18:21-22, which says: “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” She shared that since God has bestowed his grace upon grace to us, we also need to be gracious toward others and extend forgiveness to them. She admitted that it takes more time for her to forgive based on the magnitude of the offense committed against her, but she also knows that no one is perfect and we all sin and make mistakes. So she tries to be forgiving of others because Christ first forgave her. 2. Forgiveness is God’s work, not our own. When I asked the 17 year old about forgiveness, she immediately responded with, “That’s hard. Forgiveness is a hard word.” But then she went on to share this beautiful truth: “Forgiveness is God’s work, not ours. He doesn’t force us to forgive, but he helps us and gives us the love that we need to be able to give forgiveness to them. Even if they never say sorry, I still choose to forgive them because they are a son or daughter of God.” She went on to share that before she came to CtL, her heart was like a heart of stone. She was prideful and had a really hard time ever admitting that she was wrong or asking for forgiveness from others. But she said that coming to CtL has humbled her, and not only has God softened her heart to help her show her love for others by saying sorry, but she is now able to help give advice and counsel her younger sisters as they walk through their processes of forgiveness as well. 3. Forgiveness is a process. The 13 year old shared with me about how forgiveness is a process—it doesn’t typically happen overnight. With God’s help, she was able to forgive her perpetrators, but it was a process that took several years. She said, “When Jesus was on the cross, he was able to look down at those who had abused, persecuted, and sentenced him to death and say, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Jesus said that on the cross, it is finished. It is done. The past is the past and we should not live our lives dwelling on it.” When we walk through the process of forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to face today and the days to come with hope and anticipation. “Forgiveness gives us peace. It makes my heart free and I feel so relieved.” -J Praise Jesus for the work that He is doing in the hearts of our girls at CtL, leading them through the process of forgiveness and bestowing His love and forgiveness on them at the same time. He has given them peace, relief, and hope as they move on from their pasts and look toward their futures with anticipation and expectation.

Guest post by Cindy R.

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