Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 18, 2012 0 comments

In recent weeks, two new songs on forgiveness have been hitting the Christian radio airwaves, so that’s what first popped into my head when pondering this topic. The two songs are “Forgiveness” by Matthew West and “Losing” by Tenth Avenue North. The goal of both of the songs is to explore what forgiveness is and how it affects us as humans. In fact, shortly after I wrote that, the DJ on the radio station I was listening to commented on those songs. What does the fact that they’re both popular right now say about us as a people?

So, what exactly is forgiveness? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the act of forgiving.” That’s not really helpful, so I looked up the word forgive. It means, “to give up resentment of or claim to requital for,” “to grant relief from payment of,” or “to cease to feel resentment against an offender.” All of those things are way easier said than done!

We as humans are resentful by nature. If somebody takes something that’s mine or hurts me in some way, I’ll naturally be resentful of that person. We think it makes us feel better to keep that grudge and continue that resentment, but does it really?

My friend Shelley Hitz (of speaks a lot about forgiveness, and I heard her talks again at a women’s retreat I attended back in March. One of her analogies for forgiveness is as spiritual Drano! When your shower drain is all clogged, none of the water can drain and it just keeps backing up in the tub. When that happens, you need Drano to clear out the clog so the drain system functions properly. Similarly, when people hurt us it clogs us up with negative emotions. We need forgiveness to be our spiritual Drano to relieve us of all of that hurt. Forgiveness doesn’t say that person’s actions were ok, but it says that we’re ok with not holding onto that resentment any longer.

Shelley also describes a lack of forgiveness as carrying a dead body around on your shoulders. You may be ok with it for a little while, but soon it will be heavy and start to stink. A lack of forgiveness does the same thing to our lives - we start to “stink” toward others because we carry around the burden of all the hurts that have happened to us in our lives.

Now don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is not easy. It goes against everything in our human nature. We can’t forgive others on our own; we need Jesus’ help to do it. It is only through Him that we can experience the power of forgiveness. We need to forgive others and ourselves for the hurts we have experienced in our lives.

This is all summed up in what Jesus tells us: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Your challenge for this week is to check out the lyrics of the songs I mentioned above, see the information available on Shelley’s website, and ask God to help you see where in your life you need to grant forgiveness - whether it be to others or to yourself.