Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

New Hope (Part 1) – Day 8

New hope ... when we forgive

Bible text(s)

6The heavens proclaim that God is righteous,

that he himself is judge.

Psalms 50:6GNBOpen in Bible reader

17But no weapon will be able to hurt you;

you will have an answer for all who accuse you.

I will defend my servants

and give them victory.”

The LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 54:17GNBOpen in Bible reader

12As far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our sins from us.

Psalms 103:12GNBOpen in Bible reader

22I have swept your sins away like a cloud.

Come back to me; I am the one who saves you.”

Isaiah 44:22GNBOpen in Bible reader

36If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free.

1The LORD controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream.

Proverbs 21:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

26I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.

Ezekiel 36:26GNBOpen in Bible reader

[Background: Several readers have asked me to write something about forgiveness. Here are a few questions from the e-mails I received:]

Reader 1: “How do you forgive someone who has wronged you so much that you and your child’s life is irrevocably changed because of the person’s actions?”

You cannot change the past. What you can do is to determine your own actions for today. Dwelling too long on something that hurt tremendously in the past, causes unforgiveness to reside in your heart. Why? We fear that our forgiveness of that person will cause him or her to walk away unharmed, while you still have to bear the consequences of their actions.

What we do not realise is that our unforgiving attitude leads to bitterness, which poisons our whole being. On the other hand, if we choose to forgive and leave the judgement to God, he frees us from the past and fights our case on our behalf, as he is the righteous Judge.
In Psalm 50:6 we read: And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. And in Isaiah 54:17 is written: “ … their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

To forgive the person who wronged you is step one. Thereafter, the healing process can start. And though it might be hurtful to work through all the different emotions, be assured that if you make God a part of this journey, he will enable you to not only get through it, but to come out stronger and wiser on the other side. Give him a chance to fight on your behalf – you will never regret it!

Reader 2: “I have made many mistakes in my life and have confessed it to God. I think God has forgiven me, however, I sometimes still feel guilty and struggle to forgive myself. Do you have any advice?”

When we confess our sins with a pure heart before God, he forgives us and never thinks about our transgressions anymore. In Psalm 103:12 we read: He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. And in Isaiah 44:22, God says: “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.”

Do not wait for a special feeling in your heart to know that you are forgiven. Have faith and trust God’s word. Knowing that you are forgiven, brings freedom and joy to your life. The enemy does not like this and will do everything in his power to remind you constantly of your past mistakes. If this, therefore, happens again, have faith and remind him that Jesus already won on the cross: “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36). Leave the guilt behind and walk with freedom and joy into your future!

Reader 3: “How should I pray that God soften someone’s hardened heart towards me?”

God is able to harden and soften any person’s heart. We saw it with Pharaoh and the Israelites during the ten plagues in Egypt. In Proverbs 21:1 we also read: The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases. And in Ezekiel 36:26, God says: “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
If someone, therefore, has a grudge against you, pray that God, by his Holy Spirit, will work on your behalf, soften that person’s heart and change their attitude towards you, and the particular situation. Remember, God knows that person much better than you do. You can ask him for wisdom to use the right words at the right time, to sort out the matter. He always knows best.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
Find us on