Let’s get right to the point:
You need this book. You need everything this book addresses. If you don’t think you need it, you are deceiving yourself.
We all have our own ways of choosing what books we will read. We often consider the book’s topic and whether we feel it will benefit us or not. Unfortunately, many of us miss out on some jewels of life-giving truth, simply because we quickly assume, “I don’t need help on that subject. I’m good.” It is this kind of mindset that often leads us down some tough paths, where we pass by simple truths that we “know” in our head, but are not applying in our lives. So, I would rather just tell you at the start, you need this book.
For those of you that may need further convincing, let me tell you why addressing the subject of forgiveness, bitterness and anger is so critical to your everyday life—and why you need to keep reading.
1. We all deal with being hurt!
I am certain that all of us deal with being hurt and wounded in life. The only way you might be able to avoid this is by living in a cave, but even then a bug will bite you! If you have a pulse and breathe air, the chances are 100 percent that you will be offended or hurt by someone.
We have all been hurt and likely will be again in the near future. We have a decision to make in these situations: will we will walk in forgiveness or carry the toxic poison of bitterness? It is a fact that the stronghold of bitterness will take on every human being on the planet in some form or fashion. It’s an accurate observation. We can all nod our heads in one accord, knowing we all face situations that provide opportunities for this bitter root to spring up. We will all be hurt. The question is, what will you do with that hurt?
2. Opportunities to Get Offended Will Increase.
Just when you thought maybe things will get easier around you, think again. As each day passes, people are becoming more easily offended, less forgiving and more volatile. Each of us has a choice: to run away and hide, thereby avoiding any chance to impact this generation for good, or to learn to carry a greater level of grace and forgiveness in our lives.
3. You Will Hurt Others from Your Unresolved Hurt.
The saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” I would clarify that statement by saying, “People with unhealed hurt, will hurt people.” All of us from time to time in our lives are confronted with painful experiences and have hurtful interactions. Those who bury the pain or do not work through the process of forgiveness will inevitably spew their toxic wounds onto someone else.
I have seen this happen over and over again. For example, someone new comes into church and very soon starts projecting unhealed issues with the last pastor and leadership team into the new environment. With very little knowledge of people’s true character, they create a lens that is very critical of those leading the church. Most of the time, it has absolutely nothing to do with the people being attacked. You are not really just mad at your current husband or wife, but are actually stirred up with unresolved issues from a past relationship that are now coming to the surface.
Toxic feelings towards another person rarely have anything to do with the current relationship, but rather the unresolved issues with a previous relationship that are now being projected onto the current one. If you don’t forgive people from your past, your past will follow you and will continue to wreak havoc on your relationships.
4. Without God’s Help, It Can Be Impossible to Forgive.
In the 20 years I have spent helping people, the stories of pain I have witnessed have blown my mind. I honestly came close to giving some a “pass” on having to forgive, simply because, from a natural perspective, it seemed impossible. Even in my own life, I have interacted with hundreds of people that have done or said hurtful things to me. Many committed these actions unknowingly, while others seemed like they planned them out for years. I have been left wondering at times how people could commit such unloving acts.
I want to take a moment and connect to your pain. You are probably reading this book because there’s some kind of pain or block preventing you from making progress in your life. I’ll guarantee you have been through some stuff. You may have seen and experienced things no human being should. You may have made up your mind that you don’t want to forgive, or maybe you just don’t feel like you can.
I want to bring you good news today. You actually can forgive. In fact, with proper help, you can learn to forgive almost anybody, especially if the Spirit of the Forgiver lives inside of you.
5. You Probably Have Not Been Taught How to Forgive.
If you grew up in church, every once in a while you most likely heard that you should forgive people, but for the most part, this subject was often glazed over. When it was addressed, it was simply stated, “You’re supposed to forgive, so make sure you do it.” Yet, when it came to actually applying that forgiveness, no one walked you through the process of how to actually forgive those that have hurt you in your life.
If you did not go to church, your experience was probably much the same. Your role models were not always stellar. You heard people tell you to forgive, while you watched them hold grudges against everyone around them. You observed family members who no longer spoke to one another, or business startups that failed because two partners could not get along. Most likely, unforgiveness had a role in the millions of divorces that have occurred over the decades. It was a rarity if anyone ever sat down with you and helped you learn to process forgiveness regarding those who hurt you.
6. Your Health Depends on It.
No matter what has happened to you, please understand that your life depends on you being able to learn to forgive. Many people become sick and die because of the bitter entanglements left in their heart. Some stubbornly take bitterness to the grave, and quite often an early grave because of it. Meanwhile, many others live in emotional and mental torment because of their unforgiving heart. Doctors and medical practitioners know that the power of forgiveness can increase chances of healing. Could it be that unresolved bitterness and unforgiveness are making and keeping you sick? This is your chance to take your health back.
7. Forgiveness Shows Us the Love of God.
One of the greatest ways we can experience the love of God is to personally understand that God sent His Son to come and die on the cross, so that we could have forgiveness of our sins. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Those who receive the forgiveness of God, available in Christ Jesus, can experience a love that is unmatched in the entire world. To be forgiven is to be loved.
Remember the woman who washed Jesus’ feet? Through this interaction, our Lord pointed out the relationship between love and forgiveness. He said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:47). Jesus is connecting the relationship between forgiveness and love. When we experience a greater measure of forgiveness, we encounter a greater depth of love. Our dimension to receive forgiveness from God and give it out to others will also determine our ability to manifest the fullness of God’s love.
8. We are Commanded to Forgive.
Many people who teach about the forgiveness of God point out that it is free. It is . . . kind of. There is one catch. God’s forgiveness is free if you also give it out freely. The moment you make forgiveness towards others optional or conditional, God deals with you the same way.
It is mentioned in the Scriptures that if we do not forgive others, our heavenly Father will not forgive us. This is one of the most sobering statements in all of Scripture. While God pours out His forgiveness on everyone who will believe and receive, He is very concerned that we extend forgiveness to others, to the point that the power of His forgiveness towards us is at stake. Don’t ask me exactly how this plays out eternally, but I don’t want to find out. I got a free gift of forgiveness that had a command attached to it: give this out to others freely.
9. Your Progress in Life Depends on It.
There may be an area of your life where you seem to be going around the mountain with little fruit. You may have a block that is impeding you from making progress in life. Maybe you are financially stuck or continually have the same limitations in life. Your career or ministry might be at a plateau. This may be due to the fact that God wants you to deal with forgiving and releasing someone. This is preventing you from moving forward.
For example, I have watched people who have been treated unfairly at previous places of employment, and were struggling with their current job, too. When they were able to release heart-felt forgiveness, a better job with higher pay opened up for them. I have seen financial provision drop on people, seemingly out of nowhere, when they learned to forgive someone who financially used or cheated them.
We can complain about past dealings all we want, and feel justified with our position. But in the end, we will remain stuck if we do not learn to release the forgiveness and blessing of God on those who do not seem to deserve it.
10. As Christ’s Return Draws Closer, You Must Become Equipped to Forgive.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 about the last days. It is then that false prophets will arise and many people will end up falling into deception. How could this happen? Because bitterness can cloud our perception, opening us up to deception on many levels.
Through these warnings, He also describes some startling signs of the end times: many will be offended and people will betray and hate one another. In addition to that, the love inside of people will become cold. These will all be signs of bitterness and unforgiveness having its work in the land! Those who endure to the end and live as overcomers will be those who learn not to let hurt and betrayal take them out, but continue to release the love, grace and forgiveness of God to others.
I know I said ten, but I had to add one more:
11. Those Who Forgive Regularly Have the Best Relationships.
The best people to connect with are the ones who are the least “high maintenance.” Those who are on the higher maintenance list are often those who are easily offended and less prone to quickly forgive and move on. Those who have developed their forgiveness muscles are great to interact with because they keep short accounts. They spend very little time mulling over the past wrong of others and as a result can spend more time focusing on future possibilities and opportunities.
People who are forgiving carry the grace of God in their lives and others love being around them. Why not become one of those people?
 Matthew 6:15, Mark 11:26, Matthew 18:35