Forgiveness within Christian Families

Family Day 3
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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

  • Call your Prayer Partner for a 10-minute prayer call!
  • It is time to meet with your Savior! Today especially pray to Him for all feelings of bitterness and resentment to fade. Pray for a radical change of heart towards that family member who has hurt you.
  • Read Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 and write them both in your journal.

Forgiveness within Christian Families

Do you have a situation where forgiveness seems impossible? Perhaps you have experienced so much hurt for so long that forgiveness doesn’t seem fair or justified. Recently, I found myself struggling to forgive someone close to me. Through prayer, prayer, and even more prayer, I found the strength to submit my hurt and bitterness to the Lord and have FORGIVEN the person who caused me pain. The journey to a fruitful relationship was not easy, but it was so worth it.

Both of today’s Bible verses convicted me every time I read them. I felt disgraceful knowing that I was withholding forgiveness when Christ had first forgiven me. As Christians, the power—and the beauty—of our transformed life is that “it is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Our humanness and sinfulness are not capable of forgiving heartless acts and attitudes. It is Christ’s love and example transplanted into our believing hearts that can exchange our weakness for His strength. His love and forgiveness compel us to show the same towards others.

You have two choices when you get offended or hurt: you can pull away from love, or you can choose to press into it. What does “pressing into love mean?” Jesus gives us an answer in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” So what is the point? As a Christ follower, you should never reach a place of unforgiveness. You should press into the love from Jesus that is supernatural and unconditional.

The amazing thing about Jesus is that He didn’t just tell us to forgive others, He showed us with His actions. Two great examples of forgiveness in Scripture are the beautiful story of Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness towards the adulterous woman in John, and Christ’s final words on the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing,” Luke 23:24. Wow! Jesus sets a high standard, but it is the standard that we should all be striving for. The effect from withholding forgiveness is huge, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the home. So much of the anger and strife that exists in the family today is rooted in people’s unwillingness to forgive.

I would like to challenge all of you today with one word – love. Proverbs 17: 9 NLT states that “love prospers when a fault is forgiven.” I personally think that what stops many people from granting forgiveness is that they believe if they forgive the person, they are condoning the “offender’s” sin. Holding grudges only chains YOU to the past and causes bitterness, like a steady drip of toxin, into your life. When forgiveness is given, I guarantee you a weight will be lifted off of you, and you will feel free and complete. Submit these broken relationships to your Father! There is no behavior that cannot be forgiven. After all, where would WE be without the kindness, love, and forgiveness of Jesus?

Questions to Ponder

  • Is there someone in your family that you need to forgive? If so, what steps have you taken towards forgiveness?
  • If you haven’t taken any steps towards forgiveness yet, what is holding you back?

Faith-Filled Idea
Write down a list of people you need to forgive. Whether there is only one person or 10 people total, spend time in prayer for them. Submit your hurt and bitterness to Jesus. Pray over their names for a week, and I guarantee you that you will feel softer towards them. Forgiveness is a process. Don’t expect to be ready in two days. However, admitting you have unforgiveness is the first step. I am praying for you on this journey!

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Rachel Jones

Hi! My name is Rachel Jones and I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have three wonderful daughters. We are also expecting a little boy this June. I am originally from Phoenix, AZ and have been in Colorado Springs for eight years now. I enjoy large cups of coffee, reading, cooking, and homeschooling my children. I am a big fan of anything British and love watching Downton Abbey. Jesus is my rock, my redeemer, and my comforter. I yearn to live radically for Him every day of my life! My favorite verse is Proverbs 31:30.

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10 Comments on “Forgiveness within Christian Families”

  1. I have a very hard time forgiving those who hurt us and will not admit what they did was evil and will not ask for forgiveness. I am not sure if Jesus even forgive those who don’t want forgiveness. Jesus asked God to forgive those who did not know what they are doing. Our relatives did harm to us knew exactly what they did was wrong and will not seek forgiveness or reconciliation.

    1. Hi Christiana! Thank you for much for commenting and sorry for the delayed response. Forgiving people (especially family members) who do not apologize, seek forgiveness or reconciliation is hard. I know this personally. The person mentioned in my Bible study did none of these things. However, the Lord showed me that is was not about her or what she did to me at all. It was about my relationship with Him and the bitterness and anger I still had in my heart towards her.

      Jesus does speak about forgiveness in absolutes, commanding us to forgive easily and without malice in our hearts. Two fantastic verses are Ephesians 4:31-32 and Colossians 3:13.

      I am praying for you! I am praying that Jesus softens your heart towards these family members. I pray you can supernaturally forgive! After all, as it says in Galatians 2:20, it is Christ in us that changes us and allows us to live differently!

  2. Thank you so much for writing this Rachel!! Forgiveness is not an option, Jesus commands us to forgive. When we forgive we are free! We are free to love like Jesus, and live like we are supposed to live!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful perspective. I am so thankful for you! ?❤️

  3. There are so many thought provoking sentences in this Rachel Jones! I had to print it and go back through and underline! love this one; “It is Christ’s love and example transplanted into our believing hearts that can exchange our weakness for His strength. His love and forgiveness compel us to show the same towards others.” and that forgiveness is a “process”. GOOD STUFF

    1. Wow! Thank you! All my words came from Him. I hope it touched you and blessed your heart this morning. Love you friend! 🙂

  4. Rachel, this study is so powerful! I LOVE what you said, “Holding grudges only chains YOU to the past and causes bitterness like a steady drip of toxins into your life.” Yes, it’s so true. We cannot expect to thrive when we hold unforgiveness in our heart. Thanks for sharing your experience and truth today!!

    1. Thank you! I was so happy to share what the Lord taught me on the journey to forgiveness. He is so good and faithful!

  5. Rachel thank you! What a powerful study! I love what you said here: “Our humanness and sinfulness are not capable of forgiving heartless acts and attitudes. It is Christ’s love and example transplanted into our believing hearts that can exchange our weakness for His strength. His love and forgiveness compel us to show the same towards others.” So good!

    1. Thanks! It is so true. Humans can hurt each other so much that it feels like forgiveness could never happen. However, over time, God steps in and softens our hearts. He is amazing!! 🙂

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