I hope in the course of reading this book, the Lord has truly spoken to your heart about the importance and imperative of forgiveness. As you’ve thought back through the specific situations where forgiveness has come the hardest in your life, I pray that you have seen not only the depths of your sin that God has forgiven for Christ’s sake, but also the deep well of His grace that can even now supply you with everything you need to show mercy to others.
It’s there—He’s there—if you choose to forgive.
It’s possible that even after reading the Scriptures and examining the concepts we’ve explored, you still find forgiveness too painful and difficult to contemplate. Or perhaps, truth be known, you’d rather keep nursing your wounds and savoring your resentment than to release the offense. Either way, you’re just not ready to forgive. If that’s the case with you, I feel compelled to share a loving, but earnest, word of warning.
Your unwillingness to trust and obey God in this matter—even if it’s more from exhaustion and self-preservation than from rank hardness of heart—will keep the atmosphere of your life contaminated with the poison of bitterness. You may not be conscious of its noxious effects every day, but it will cut off the flow of God’s grace into your life. Satan will use it as a foothold to gain advantage over you, to point his finger of blame as evidence that you’re not all you profess to be—and that God is not as strong and loving toward you as you’d like to think He is.
This doesn’t mean that what’s been done to you isn’t terrible. But there is simply no comfort in unforgiveness. It soothes nothing. It takes you nowhere. Why go on letting it eat you alive when God’s strength is so near at hand, so ready to bring you relief?
Having said that, I realize that many people who genuinely want to find themselves on the other side of forgiveness have bought into myths and misconceptions that have defeated their best attempts at following through. They have misunderstood what forgiveness should look like, feel like, and be like. As a result, they’ve found their journey to freedom frustrated.
In this chapter we’ll look at four common myths that masquerade as truth in the area of forgiveness. There are others, of course, but these seem to be some of the most widely believed and among the most confusing. If you have fallen prey to any of these misunderstandings about forgiveness, as the light of His Word dispels the fog, you will be able to walk into God’s open air with your head held high, your arms supported by His awesome strength, and your heart beating with gratitude for His abundant grace in your life.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Lawrence Kimbrough, Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Choosing Forgiveness.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #1
What Happens When We Refuse?
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #2
The Promise of Forgiveness
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #3
The Art of Forgiveness
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #4
What True Forgiveness Is — And Isn’t
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #5
Returning a Blessing