Wednesday May 10, 2023 Weds Gathering 6:30pm Video
Delivered By
Pastor Lynn Spoon
Delivered On
May 10, 2023
Obstacles to Forgiveness
Attached Document
Obstacles to Forgiveness

There are indeed a few people who are just plain mean and nasty, who won’t forgive because forgiveness gets in the way of their meanness. There are also some who feel they are morally superior to the ones who harmed them. Still, others don’t want to grow up and accept responsibility for their own lives, so they specialize in blaming others for their own difficulties.
By far, most of the people are stuck in an unforgiving stance because of one or more of the following reasons:
1. They don’t know how to forgive.
2. They have come to believe that forgiveness is unnecessary or impossible.
3. They are often discreetly encouraged not to forgive.
Some obstacles to forgiveness begin with Me.
Did you grow up with a vengeance mentality, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”?
Were you exposed to a militant religion that was intolerant and unforgiving of all others?
Conversely, did you hear anything in church that made you feel overly pressured to forgive?
More Questions on Cultural or Societal Obstacles to Forgiveness
When it comes to forgiving, is it easier for men or women to forgive?

Are either men or women expected to be better able or more willing to forgive?

Do you believe either men or women do most of the forgiving?

What longstanding societal grudges or attitudes create obstacles to forgiving? Examples: Ethnic rivalries, or cultural encouragement, “Don’t get mad, get even”

Some Religious or Doctrinal Obstacles to Forgiveness
Did you learn anything, as a child, in church that told you there was one particular way to view forgiveness? Example: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Does prayer alone work for you in forgiving another person?
How does lack of evidence of forgiveness between and within religions influence your thinking?
Sometimes there are obstacles working against us that we can’t even see.
Even if you were not brought up in a religious family, you probably have been influenced by the religious values of a society founded on Judeo-Christian principles.
The fact that forgiveness is mandated can be a huge obstacle to persuading people to forgive. People often rebel against what they are told to do.
Forgiveness is often presented by the church as an “act” that has an immediate and specific “result”. It is usually better to view forgiveness as a process.
Forgiveness is more of a Journey than a destination.
Forgiveness is more of a way of life than a fact of life.
Even biblical questions can present obstacles to forgiveness. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Another scripture that can create an obstacle to forgiveness is … “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1 The very process of forgiveness implies a judgment. Seeing yourself as a victim and someone else as the victimizer is a necessary judgment in the process of righting a wrong.
Judging behavior and attitudes is not the same as judging someone on the basis of their inherent worth as a human being.
The same is true of self-judgment. I need to be able to accept that… “I made a mistake” without believing the “I am a mistake.”
If people judge themselves too harshly, forgiveness becomes impossible.
Another obstacle to forgiveness is the commandment to… “Honor thy father and thy mother.” (Exodus 20:12)
Getting my true feelings out so I can talk about them is an act of courage, love, and honor. “I honor my parents and others by expressing the truth gently .”
In order to give and receive forgiveness, we must learn that forgiveness is a personal issue that can have religious implications.
There is not a religiously correct or universally agreed upon approach to forgiveness. Our actions, more than our words, indicate that we aren’t as forgiving as we claim to be, or even want to be.
Forgiveness is extremely Helpful, but often thought as optional.
I feel a whole lot better as a result of having successfully forgiven other people in my life.
The proper focus of forgiveness is for the person doing the forgiving (me), more so than the person being forgiven.
Forgiveness is Freedom from Bondage to my past.
We are encouraged to view forgiveness as a route to freedom for ourselves, more so than freedom for others. Forgiveness is an appropriately selfish thing to do.
When we are encouraged to view forgiveness as a choice that only we can make, we are encouraged to view forgiveness as a process, we are free to grow in spiritual ways at our own pace.
When we are encouraged to allow all our feelings to surface, even the uncomfortable or embarrassing ones, then we are able to enlist our entire being in the process of healing. When we are encouraged to believe that we are not being judged unfairly, then we feel free not to be so hard on ourselves.
When we are encouraged to see that forgiveness is not a “right or wrong” issue, then we are free to approach it in spiritual ways.
Some Personal Obstacles to Forgiveness
How do I feel about my unwillingness or inability to forgive? Do I accept it? Am I proud of it? Do I think less of myself because of it?
Do I believe that most mentally healthy people find it easy to forgive?

What in my character or personality explains my difficulty with forgiveness?

Do I feel I am expected to teach myself how to forgive? Is that possible for me?

Thoughts about Personal Obstacles to Forgiveness
We often approach forgiveness as a last resort. We only arrive at forgiveness with the realization that the war is over and we did not win. Defeated in our attempts to manipulate or control people, events, and outcomes.
The good news is that you have arrived at the threshold of a new beginning.
Words like “new” and “beginning” and “change” are often scary for us. Holding onto resentments may – at first – seem safer, even if more uncomfortable.
Another personal obstacle to forgiveness is the withholding of our forgiveness until the other person accepts responsibility for what they have done to us.
We also use resentment as a means to keep mentally separated from our true feelings. If we stare long enough at other people’s failings, then we don’t have to look at our own.
We may claim that the other person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.
But don’t we deserve freedom from resentment and pain?

That Only comes thru Forgiving !