Written by Mike Gordon
2019 has officially begun.
A New Year
A New Beginning
A New Start
This is often followed by a New Year’s Resolution to better one’s life and change an undesired trait as we aim to close the door on the past and look forward to a new year.
We tell ourselves we will join a gym, quit a certain habit or try to save more money for 2019.
These are great goals to strive towards, however, research shows 80% of us will give up on these goals by February and just try again next year.
What if we tried something new this year?
Something deeply connected to a New Beginning.
What if we decided this January, we are going move past the cliché New Year’s Resolutions and decide to put forgiveness into action? Doesn’t this deeply connect with why we set resolutions to begin with? The past wasn’t working for us and what has happened up until this point has been undesirable. We see that this robs us from experiencing the fullness of life and peace God wants for us.
Are you walking into 2019 with anger, bitterness and resentment? Maybe this is the year we make our New Year’s resolution about forgiveness rather than gym memberships and cliché goals.
Paul says in Colossians ‘the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.’
The message of the cross can resonate with what we are craving deep down.
Who Should We Forgive?
Starting with Others
Let’s be honest…We don’t want to do this. Due to what someone may have done to you, you are now carrying a weight on your shoulders. Who is that individual?
A family member?
Personally, my problem with forgiveness is the feeling that I am saying what they did to me was “okay”. I often feel I am condoning their actions and pretending that they did not hurt me. I don’t want to let them off the hook by forgiving them.
I realize now that’s not what forgiveness is. I was reminded that Jesus commanded us to love our enemies no matter what. Does this seem counterintuitive? Yes! But when I decided to be intentional about loving and forgiving others, I realized I was letting myself off the hook. It was more about setting myself free more than setting them free.
You would be surprised by how many people are walking around holding onto unforgiveness towards themselves because of something they did. They carry around shame, guilt, and self-pity as they reflect on a weak moment in their past. They meditate on this, replaying the narrative in their head over and over again, which affects them emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The truth is that we are all human and the seventy times seven scripture applies to ourselves as well. Have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? It may open up a new beginning and may bring peace into many areas in your life.
Angry at God?
God is perfect, so the idea of forgiving Him is a complex one. However, through one conversation after another over the years, I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered who are angry with God. Does it come from poor theology or poor understanding of who He is? These conversations are usually based on someone believing God owes them something or that life should have gone a different way because He is in control.
It’s when a prayer isn’t answered
It’s when Sunday School theology fails us
It’s when someone passes away
It’s when you get fired from a job
Or when your relationship ended
Our response usually is to boycott God.
We stop praying
We stop worshipping
We stop going to church
We stop trusting Him
We stop following
Maybe the best way to start 2019 is to remind yourself of how much God loves you. Fix your eyes back on the cross and what Jesus did so you can be reminded that God is with you and has never given up on you… ever.
Forgiving in 2019
My hope and prayer for you in 2019 is to experience the power of forgiveness in every area of your life. Forgive others, forgive yourself and forgive God. Allow this ‘New’ New Years Resolution take away your anger, bitterness, and resentment as you intentionally put forgiveness into action.
You don’t need to live the way you were anymore.
Mike Gordon | Youth for Christ Canada