Believe it or not, there’s a powerful force out there that is keeping you from experiencing uninhibited love.
You see, one of the greatest barriers to trust, and to the receiving and experiencing of love, is a lack of forgiveness in some area of your life. The unwillingness to forgive keeps us from moving forward because it causes us to fix our attention on the past.
I knew a young woman who was caught in the trap of unforgiveness. She had been dating the “love of her life” for one year and a half. Things seemed to be moving forward as planned. Talk of engagement and marriage was right around the corner. She felt certain that she was walking in God’s plan for her life and was feeling excited about the future ahead.
And then one day, everything changed. Her boyfriend began acting differently toward her. She felt the distance between them increasing with each passing day. Soon after, with little reason and no clear answers, he told her that he was ready to break up. She had been completely blindsided. Her life had derailed in a way she had never expected.
Maybe somehow, in someway, you can relate to her story. Maybe your story didn’t unfold as planned. Maybe you’ve dealt with the sting of rejection or even the hurt that comes with unanswered questions. Maybe you’ve felt the pain of betrayal or the trauma of unfaithfulness. Maybe you’re dealing with the consequences and suffering that comes when someone blatantly sins against you. Or maybe, you’re simply feeling the aching in your heart from hope deferred.
If you’re anything like this young woman, whatever it is, it’s left you with a great wound.
Yet for every wound that life brings, comes with it the need for forgiveness. The need to let go of hurt. The need to move away from betrayal. The need to let go of the past, and move into something new. Not for their sake, but for ours. Holding on to hurt means holding on to the past. And holding on to the past will always, always, keep us from moving forward.
Oftentimes, we spend our life waiting for an apology, waiting for remorse, or waiting for reconciliation. But when we wait for those who have hurt us to change, we end up wasting our life away, putting control in their hands instead of our own. God moves us to forgiveness, because it’s the only way we can take control back and begin to live our lives.
But please don’t ever make the mistake: forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness isn’t given because you’re “okay” with what has happened. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are going to continue allowing unhealthy patterns, living the way you were. Forgiveness means moving forward. It means healing. It means change.
And at the end of the day, forgiveness isn’t even for them — it’s for you (TWEET IT!)
It’s for you to be free. To move on. To take next steps. It’s for you to regain your life, regain your future, and take your power back from their hands. No, forgiveness is not for them, it’s for you. And it’s for a loving God who knows EXACTLY what’s best for your life.
As you pray for your future love life, I want you to consider this simple question: are you holding on to hurts from your past? If the answer is yes, consider spending some time reflecting on God’s forgiveness in your own life. The more we grasp his forgiveness, the more we’ll be empowered to bestow that kind of forgiveness on others. Forgiveness that is free. Forgiveness that is undeserved.
Forgiveness that will help us to stop looking back, and begin to look forward.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
PRAYER: Jesus open my eyes to the deep and painful wounds I have caused You throughout my life. You have wiped my slate clean and given me a fresh start. Give me eyes to see the vastness of Your forgiveness and to accept that in my own life. And then, give me the strength to grant that forgiveness to those who have hurt me. I no longer want to be enslaved to the pain of my past, but instead, freed to move into the hope of my future.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
This post was adapted from Day 7 of the NEW 21 Days To Pray For Your Love Life Program! Feel free to refer to your Prayer Journal Guide to dig deeper in the topic of forgiveness as it pertains to your future love life. If you haven’t already, work through this ENTIRE program by clicking the link below!