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Choose Forgiveness

In January, we get to hit the “reset” button. New goals, new focus, new direction. I love January because we get to start again — it’s like the morning light washing away the darkness of “what was” and becoming, “What will be?”
 
 2016.01.19 Choose Forgiveness
 
We take stock of the roads we have traveled and lay out the paths we hope to take.
 
As we look ahead at a new year, I can’t think of a more important step than to choose forgiveness. Forgiveness has this way of washing away the past and allowing you to walk free into the future.
 

Choosing to forgive has become the cornerstone of my faith. For a long time, I didn’t even realize I needed to forgive those who had hurt me in the past or even in the present. When I first became a Christian, I left my hurts behind locked doors — I gave them no voice, thinking we can swallow bitter pills and not become bitter. But when I realized that the safest hands held the key to my heart, I gave God permission to unlock those doors. They slowly cracked open, and His light streamed in. In the writing of my own Bible study, I let go of my past.

During that time, I gave myself the gift of counseling. In the telling of my story, I realized that not only did I need to privately take a good look at each of my hurts, but I needed to take those who hurt me one by one to the throne and hand them over. It wasn’t sufficient to just dismiss them. I actually had to look each offense square in the eye, name it, and commit it to the Cross — as well as take responsibility for my own part in the story.

Many of us don’t want to go through the tough work of forgiveness. We find it easier to sweep our injuries under the rug, ignore our own responsibility, and deny it all exists, rather than speaking directly of it to the Father. When we go through this process, our grievances are replaced with grace, our histories become history, and we become aware of our own need to change.

2016.01.19 Choose Forgiveness Graphic

Forgiveness is a command: we are to forgive as the Lord Jesus forgave us (Col 3:13), remembering He didn’t forgive us by ignoring our sin; He took the hardest of looks at it and released us– before we even said “I’m sorry.”

A lot of us want to wait until the person who offended us comes to us and says sorry. But that’s not biblical. In personal conflicts, we take ownership of OUR PART IN THE STORY and release the other one to be convicted by God for their part. 

Mark 11:25 says, “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you ….” If you disobey this command, you retain that person’s sins. The sins are held — and they hold you captive, not them.  

Do you need help forgiving someone? I can help you with that. I’ve created a little handy-dandy forgiveness guide that will walk you through the process of forgiveness. It’s a free download and it takes three days to complete.

  • Can you think of someone you need to forgive, but just can’t seem to let go of the bitter hurts that are plaguing you?
  • Do you want to be free of resentment but don’t know how because that person keeps invading your territory with more offenses?

If so, download my friendly forgiveness guide here.

When people say, “Blessings to you in 2016!” – make sure you slow down to take an honest stock of where you’ve been and a hopeful look at where you want to go. Refuse to carry any residue, bitterness, or baggage into this new year. Forgiveness is a choice to wipe away the past and a freeing practice that becomes a daily habit.

You can grab your worksheet here.

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About the Author: Jennifer

Jennifer Strickland is a wife, mom, TEDx speaker, and former professional model. She is the author of Girl Perfect, More Beautiful Than You Know, and Beautiful Lies, among other books and Bible studies that teach women their worth in God’s eyes. Since leaving the modeling industry, she founded URMore.org, a non-profit ministry that provides resources to hurting women and girls. Her favorite moments are found working on the family ranch with her husband, who she calls “the Cowboy”; in her kitchen, concocting a new version of her famous spaghetti; or spending time with their three precious children.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.

Barbara Brown

Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA

“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”

Nancy Ortberg

Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church

“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”

Allie Marie Smith

Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made

One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”

Thelma Wells

Thelma Wells, D.D. (Hon), President of Woman of God Ministries
As a teacher, participator, and observer of public speaking for most of my life, I’ve come to realize that many speakers make one of two mistakes when interacting with their audience (especially when that audience is mainly teenagers.) They either expect their audience to climb up to their level (which feels unattainable to the crowd) or they step down to the level of their listeners (which feels cheap and pandering.) The best speakers meet their audience where they are and lead them up to where they want them to be. This feels genuine. This is what Jennifer did over the last few days at our school.
Jennifer Strickland is a funny, engaging, dynamic speaker. She shares truth with authority and credibility that comes from both experience (her story is powerful) and an obvious depth of study in the Bible. The ideas she presents about Value, Identity, and Purpose are truths everyone needs to hear.
I heartily recommend her for your conference, school retreat, or any event where you want your people to be encouraged and challenged with deep, impacting truth.

Andrew Doan

Andrew Doan, Concord Christian Academy, Concord, NH

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