Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not once and done for us finite and fallible human beings; it is an ongoing process of the heart. Often we can offer forgiveness for an “offense” and never think about it again or look back and even laugh about it. All too often, however, the offense is repeated, the wounds reopened, the knife is twisted, or we allow ourselves to wallow in the hurt of past violations. Every. Single. Time. Our freedom comes in releasing control (and I am a control freak) of our hurt and anger, surrendering it and the person or situation to God, and practicing the seventy times seven principle (Matthew 18).

I “accidentally” found the book, “Forgiving What You’ll Never Forget” by Dr David Stroop, in the airport bookstore. The back cover described counsel I needed to let wash over me. Dr. Stroop packages forgiveness as a gift that we all need to give and receive. He biblically distinguishes between forgiveness and reconciliation as well as explains the ongoing process of healing that forgiveness brings. He helps the reader understand that, of course, we won’t always forget everything we need to forgive. Not forgetting, yet surrendering the pain and bitterness to the cross, helps us to not repeat the offense, guards our hearts from further hurt, and protects our children and loved ones from similar offenses. Forgiveness offers freedom in so many ways. Dr. Stroop guides his reader to that freedom.

I have come to realize that forgiveness is:

  • Obedience
  • An act of worship
  • Healing and contagious
  • Grace with boundaries
  • Does not mean you have to be a punching bag
  • A cure for anger and bitterness
  • Faith not in humans’ fallibility but in God’s tender care for our hearts
  • As much for the forgiver as the forgiven
  • Allowing God’s love to flow through me
  • Something I am incapable of doing without divine intervention
  • A free gift

Forgiveness came to us through the cross. We have all endured hurt and heartache, but because of the cross we have the supernatural ability to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 

As I write this, I feel there is so much more to say, but forgiveness is a personal story and the final chapter can only be written by you.

Published by Keri Willis

My name is Keri Willis. I am a semi-retired educator. I spent a great deal of my career working with adults with developmental disabilities and many years in elementary education, in the classroom and as an administrator. My main ministry now is coordinating the women’s ministry for our church in San Diego, CA. I have been married thirty-four years and have two grown and married children. I now have a head of full grey hair and good ideas. I believe we are created to use our gifts and to be creative. That comes in many forms for me. I love to woodwork and use power tools, design, decorate, garden, and create new recipes. And I love to write. One major lesson I have learned in my writing journey is that I need to be still and listen to hear God’s voice before I am prepared to put into words the message he has instilled in my heart. This has been much easier since I am no longer working full time, but it is so easy to get distracted and not listen, which almost always ends with an empty page in the form of writer’s block. While I have written many articles for newsletters and local newspapers, I did not consider myself a writer until I self-published my first book, Teapots and Power Tools. The idea emerged as I was working on a project in my garage. I had worship music playing, power tools out and saw dust flying. I glanced up and saw my delicate teapot sitting on my router table. The message was clear. Sometimes we are using the power tools God gives us and sometimes he just wants us to be still and have tea with him. The book became the foundation for a women’s retreat, and then my amazing niece helped me work through publishing it on Create Space (now KDP). At least five other projects are in different stages of production. I joined hope*writers to help motivate me and keep me focused and accountable. I am still trying to figure out the whole website and blog thing. That is my next goal for myself; that and finish writing at least one of my projects! Teapots and Power Tools: Effectively using the tools God has equipped you with, while taking time to “Be Still and Know That He is God”

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