North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

There’s been many books written about how to forgive and in theory it seems to be a fairly simple concept. But ask the person who needs to give it or get it and the feelings sometimes don’t qualify as simple. Many people walking around today lack inner peace and they sentence themselves to something called self-punishment.  Somewhere in their background they commit a sin and the guilt is carried with them for years.  So much that it becomes a haunting thought within their emotions and it leads to unrest and anxiety.  For this reason the greatest need in their life is the conscious acceptance that God and His divine way will forgive anyone who asks Him with all genuineness.  The second greatest need is for them to forgive themselves.  Christians, who should know better, are letting themselves be defeated for no good reason.  We were never created to live under apprehension-bearing that something bad is going to happen to us.  Many nervous breakdowns are the results of people who can’t forgive themselves or they are holding on to some emotionally charged events that happened to them.  Peace of mind can come to the person who truly forgives themselves and others.

I counseled a young man who had a strong disposition.  He was very proud and held himself to a high standard.  He refused to forgive himself for a mistake he made in the past.  He felt his guilt was a part of God’s wrath because of his mistake.  The feeling of guilt was due to his personal refusal to accept God’s forgiveness.  To refuse forgiveness is to be guilty of painful self-destruction as time goes by.  All of us must recognize there are some things in the past that must be forgotten if we’re to face the future positively (Phil. 3:13).

The cries of the psalmist could very well be our own.  “I kept quiet, not saying a word, not even about anything good!  But my suffering only grew more, and I was overcome with anxiety.   The more I thought, the more troubled I became.  What then can I hope for Lord?  I put my hope in you.  Save me from all my sins, and don’t let fools make fun of me.  Don’t punish me anymore.  Hear my prayer Lord and listen to my cry, come to my aid when I weep” (Psalm 39).

Few things in life are harder than genuine forgiveness.  Union and confederate survivors of the Battle of Gettysburg met years later after the Civil War had ended to shake hands on the same grounds over which they had fought so viciously.  You’ve heard the old saying, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.”  Here lies the problem of forgiveness.  Inevitably each of us will be injured emotionally at the hands of someone else.  Some of these are accidental; others are deliberate.  We can practice the law of retaliation, but you will soon discover that hostility breeds more hostility.  We must forgive others in keeping with Ephesians 4:32, “Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger.  No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any kind.  Instead, be generous to one another, tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you through Christ.”

A person must forgive others to be completely filled with the Spirit.  Pray for those who have wronged you or mistreated you.  Resentment is blockade number one when it comes to attaining Spiritual power.  Resolving deep hurt and anger is to let loose of the wrongs that are committed in the first place.  It requires determination and grace.

The miracle of restoration is that God offers forgiveness to all of us who mess up.  This is such good news that it’s hard for some people to believe it.  It will seem almost too good to be true, but it’s not.  It’s impossible for us to live with peace, under a burden of guilt for unforgiven sin, and be the greatest possible blessing to others at the same time.  A deep inward change of attitude that involves turning from sin to God makes all things possible for God to bless you with forgiveness that is full and free.

This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Apr 13 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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