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Forgiveness is a Personal Choice

The only person you have control over is yourself.

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The only person you have control over is yourself. The only attitude you can control is your own. We can’t control what other people do, how they act, or what they feel. We can only make choices for ourselves.

For instance, Paul knew his story was less than perfect.

Before his conversion, he persecuted Christians! But he didn’t let the sins of the past stop him from becoming a mighty Christ-follower. He received the title of apostle because he wasn’t afraid to truly let God transform him. He gave his weaknesses to God and became a new man. The former enemy of Christians became one of the most influential leaders of the early church.

For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me — and not without results (1 Corinthians 15:9-10, NLT).

When we beat ourselves over the head about our shortcomings, mistakes, and even what we assume to be failures, remember all those imperfect people who made it into the “Hall of Faith.” Remember those who have gone before us.

  • Peter denied Jesus three times.
  • Abraham slept with his servant.
  • Paul persecuted Christians.
  • Jonah ran away from God’s call.

You’ve made mistakes.

So have I.

But we can move forward.

Christ can transform you and me — just like He transformed Paul.

Proverbs 26:11 says that “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Don’t be a fool, caught forever in the trap of the same old mistakes. You might be weak. You might be humble. But with the power of God within you, you can choose a new life. Just look what happened to those Bible characters.

  • Peter became the rock on which Christ build his church.
  • Abraham became the father of many nations.
  • Paul became a great missionary and wrote many of the New Testament epistles.
  • Jonah went to Nineveh and helped save the city from destruction.

What’s the similarity between these men? They all had a choice, and they chose obedience.

Remember, the only person you have control over is yourself.

Sometimes God uses sin to force us to start over. Sometimes our sufferings have nothing to do with you and everything to do with others’ actions.

Ask God to help you forgive those around you who may have hurt you without realizing it. Ask God for the same measure of grace to use on yourself for being less than perfect.

God cares about you.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

God loves you because He created you and there is no one else like you.

Don’t waste his grace today.

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This article was adapted from Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me. © 2013 Harvest House Publishers. If you would like to know more about how to forgive others including yourself, please feel free to check out Renee Fisher’s new book on Amazon. Also, enter below for a chance to win a copy.


Enter to win a copy of “Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me”

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Renee Fisher is an adoring wife to Marc and mom to their pit bull named Star. She is a spirited speaker and author of five books, including Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me (Harvest House, 2013). Renee is the founder of DevotionalDiva.com, and loves nothing more than to spur others forward. She is on the Advisory Board for ChristianMingle, creator of Quarter Life Conference, and a Biola University graduate. Renee lives in CA and loves running on sunny days. A Dream Coach, she loves connecting with new people daily. Connect at ReneeFisher.com.

22 Comments
  • I would love to win this book! It seounds like it is definitely something that I need to read! Forgiveness is a hard thing to learn.

    • Thanks for sharing Tiffany! Hope forgiveness gets a little easier for you :)

  • Samantha H.

    I still think there are areas of unforgiveness in my heart and I could use the tips in this book.

    • Samantha, I hope God shows you those areas and helps you so you don’t have to do all the work :)

  • Erin

    I have so much trouble forgiving myself. I would love to win a copy!

  • Courtney

    Renee, I would definitely benefit from reading your book. Forgiveness is a touchy subject for me! I have been holding on to something for 20 years now. I love my father with all my heart, but I need to forgive him. In the past two weeks he was rushed to the hospital twice. It really opened my eyes that it is time to let it go. He probably has no idea that I’m holding on to this hurt. It all started when I was 6 months. My father cheated on my mother and they separated. I grew up in a single mother home. I watch my mother blame herself for not being a good wife and being the cause of my father’s infidelity. I have this same reckless insecurity in my own marriage and other close relationship. Although my husband is as close to perfect as it gets, I still take some of the past out on him.
    My mother passed away when I was 11 from cancer. Instead of my father being there in her last days, he had a child with the woman he had an affair with. It broke my heart that my father was not in my life, but has been the perfect father to my little brother. I never held anything against my little brother because he was just the product of adults behaving badly. Growing up my father spent all his time with his “new” family. In a sense, I felt like an orphan. I turn to guys trying to find that love I was missing from my father. I got confused with sex equating to love and allowed myself to be used because I wanted a man to love me so badly. All along I had someone, God. When I turned to God, life became so much better. He even blessed me with my wonderful husband. I try so hard to move past it, but I find myself wallowing in hurt. I don’t want to ruin my marriage and the rest of my life holding on to my past. I want to tell my dad how I feel and I forgive him, but how? Will he even understand why I’m forgiving him? And most of all I need to truly forgive myself because I still hold on to my bad behavior in search of love before finding God.

    • Courtney, wow thanks for sharing. I have GREAT FAITH in you (Romans 8:28). May God continue to encourage you and help you heal (and forgive)!

  • Sam

    Thus books sounds awesome and I would love to read it and then lend it to others to bless them too

  • Gomez

    As a three years old I was abandoned my mother, I was ten or eleven years when she came back to reclaim me. She was abusive as I grew up. I hated her for leaving me as a toddler n I became very rebellion towards her. As a teenager she used to tell me that she should’ve choked me to death n she would tell me she hated me. I hated her so much that she would tell me as an adult that she could sense my hatred towards her. To make a long story, short. Jesus found me in fetal position n He told me He loved me. What do I do? I through that love back to Him. When He asked me to forgive my mom, I told Him that He didn’t understand what she had done to me. I fought Jesus tooth n nail trying to make Him understand that I couldn’t forgive her. She had said very painful n hurtful things to me n it was very hard to forgive her, but I finally did. Mom just past away August 3, 2013 n I can actually say that I loved her. What FORGIVENESS can do, just by letting go n letting God. My mom accepted Jesus as her Lord n Savior and I know that she’s in heaven with Jesus in her glorified body.
    Thank you for letting me share in your blog. Ain’t GOD good? And all I had was forgive her. I love you mom!

    • Gomez, thanks for sharing the painful story of your mom. So glad that God helped you and her forgive one another :)

  • Jennifer Crewe

    I would love to win this book as I lead a Senior Ladies Group at my church and there are some there that struggle with unforgiveness even after many years. I just know this book would give me much material to share with them.

    • That’s awesome, thanks for sharing Jennifer!

  • Shannon

    Forgiving others who have wronged us is something that my husband and I are currently dealing with as we find ourselves in a season of unemployment.

    • I’m sorry to hear that Shannon. I hope the Lord continues to lead and guide as well as provide!!

  • Esther

    Forgiveness is such a hard lesson yet so fundamental to the truth of the Gospel!

  • Becca Hamilton

    I think this book is just what I need to read right now. I have the hardest time forgiving myself and realize that it is necessary for me to move on in life. I believe this book will encourage me to do just that. I would love to win a copy.

  • We have a winner! Congrats to Jacqueline G.!

    • Jacqueline

      Thank you so much! I am very excited to read this book! And as Sam mentioned, I too will lend this book to others so they can benefit from it as well!

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Articles

Musings On Aliens and UFOs

In a culture that’s obsessed with aliens and UFOs, it’s interesting to see what Scripture has to say about being from another world.

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Aliens from outer space. UFOs. Overall people seem to be fascinated with the possibilities.

Drawing from writing by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, Georges Méliès’ 1902 silent movie Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), is often credited as the first science fiction film. Its ground-breaking special effects prepared the way for future science-fiction films with its portrayal of a spacecraft being launched to the moon.

Like many families, ours enjoys heating up the popcorn and viewing an imaginative sci-fi movie together. In fact, one of our favorite fun places to dine is Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sci-fi Diner in Orlando. It offers a 1950’s retro drive-in movie theater atmosphere serving food to parked cars while playing campy science fiction movies, capturing the time period’s fascination with the topic.

Major interest in aliens from outer space exploded in the 1950’s, a decade sometimes described as the “classic” era of science fiction theater with it’s surge of producing low-budget, comic-book style films targeted at teenage audiences. Alien threats to humanity, UFO invasions, and abductions are common themes as seen in War of the World, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space.

Aliens in Our Midst

Currently, networks offer programs dedicated to exploring possible alien and UFO sightings with shows like Ancient Aliens, UFOs: Untold Stories, Nasa’s Unexplained Files, and more. One recent episode of one of these shows presented a segment discussing “what if humans are the aliens on earth?”

This hypothesis coincides with a religion birthed by American science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and his writings, The Church of Scientology. Its doctrine states a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) resident in a physical body. Or, stated in easier-to-understand terms, an alien life form that inhabits human beings.

Turns out biblical references address society’s curiosity on this theory.

Genesis 2:7 describes how humans came to live on earth, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” As described in scripture, humankind’s breath of life did come from an other-than-earthly source.

And concerning who are citizens and who are aliens in the world, Jesus identifies the distinction in His prayer for His disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). He continues to distinguish His followers in John 18:36 stating, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Of UFOs and a Snatching Away

Musings on Aliens & UFOs

In 1977, Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind depicted a public fascination with UFOs, along with the year’s release of George Lucas’ Star Wars. Interest continued with the 1980’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth.

In the 1970’s, Christian rocker Larry Norman also offered thoughts on aliens and UFOs in his trilogy of albums which included Only Visiting This Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land. His third album contains some of Norman’s most well-known work, selling more than 120,000 copies by 1985. In Norman’s song “UFO” lyrics assert:

He [Jesus] will come back like He promised with the price already paid,
He will gather up His followers and take them all away,
He’s an unidentified flying object,
He will sweep down from the sky

Jesus reveals His plan to return for His people in John 14:3 stating, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Mark 13:26-27 provides a clearer picture of what His return will look like to those on earth, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

So scripture does describes a coming snatching away of people on earth like represented in the 1990s-2000s popular Left Behind series of novels and films by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

In his 1969 album Upon This Rock, Norman addressed this concern as well in his song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” stating while growing up in church he hadn’t heard this preached from the pulpit.

Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and
One’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready
There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind

Closing Reflection

In consideration of the ongoing interest in our culture with aliens and UFOs, this topic certainly opens up authentic opportunities to discuss what scripture has to say on the possibilities. With curiosity on the rise, yet another avenue to open conversation about God’s love and His kingdom of another realm (John 3:16,17).

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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Forgiveness is a Personal Choice

by Renee Fisher time to read: 2 min
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