Resolving to Forgive
By Bruce Hebel –
Every year at this time people all over the world are taking life assessments and looking for ways to improve themselves in the coming year. We call this “making a New Year’s resolution.” A New Year’s resolution is a commitment an individual makes to a lifestyle change for the better. It often involves breaking a bad habit or starting a good one. Every Top 10 List of resolutions includes losing weight. Pay attention over the next few days to the morning shows and magazines at the checkout. Everywhere you look you will see people claiming to have a surefire way to help you lose weight and keep it off. It just makes sense. After Thanksgiving, the Christmas parties, cookie exchanges and all those Christmas goodies at Grandma’s, most of us have mid-sections that bear more resemblance to a barrel than a six-pack.
Let me suggest that there’s different type of weight we need to lose which doesn’t show up in larger belt sizes or groaning scales. I’m talking about the weight of old wounds we have not forgiven. Unforgiveness weighs us down and wears us out. This type of heaviness is much more harmful to us than the kind we get from that second helping of Blue Bell ice cream. Unforgiveness, according to Matthew 18, leads to the heavy burden of torment. Forgiveness takes the weight off.
Recently I helped a lady walk through the protocols of forgiveness toward her ex-husband who had cheated on her and abandoned her many years before. After she chose to forgive and sealed her forgiveness by praying a blessing over him, she said to me “I feel like I can exhale for the first time in years. My heart is so much lighter. I can feel it relaxing.” We have helped hundreds of people make the choice to forgive wounds, which in some cases, were almost unbearable. Every time someone has made a commitment to forgive, they have proclaimed that their heart is lighter and they can breathe again.
So let me recommend a New Year’s resolution for you. Ask God if there is someone you need to forgive and for what. Then choose to forgive them. When you do, you will experience the quickest weight-loss of your life.
AUTHOR QUOTE: God expects forgiven people to forgive others!
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25 NIV).
Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of Regenerating Life Ministries (forgiving forward.com) and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. Bruce is the author of the seminar and soon to be published book Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with his wife Toni, has served in church ministry for over 35 years.