Fresh starts and forgiveness are closely linked. And it's no surprise considering that forgiveness has the power to facilitate renewal in various ways in our relationships and our spiritual health.
We can all relate to how a lack of forgiveness on our part has harboured unhealthy emotions. We've all heard testimonies from people who've shared how their refusal to forgive negatively impacted on their physical health. If we're holding onto something – guilt, grudges – we're preventing cleansing from taking place.
Essentially, we're held back when we hold back from forgiving others or when they fail to forgive us.
Jesus' death for the forgiveness of our sins cleanses us, renews us and opens up the pathway to restoration of our relationship with our Father in heaven. The forgiveness that we exchange with one another here on earth does similar things.
Here are just three of the ways by which forgiving and being forgiven by others renew us.
Enables a fresh start with family and friends
Have you ever tried to carry on as normal with someone when you haven't forgiven them or they haven't forgiven you? No matter how hard you try to gloss over it, unforgiveness shows as the elephant in the room.
We facilitate the possibility to "start over" when we give or receive forgiveness in our relationships with people close to us. For whatever reason, you might decide to no longer continue a relationship with someone. But it's the parting on good terms that's most important, and that is enabled by forgiveness. If you do maintain a connection with that someone after forgiving that person, then your relationship will no longer be clouded by the past failures that blighted it before.
Allows us to go forward
Just as it creates an obstacle in our relationships, unforgiveness also obstructs our path to growth. When we fail to forgive, there's effectively a cap on our spiritual progress. Remember, if we fail to forgive, our Father won't forgive us. But when we do, our journey to growth is restarted and even more directed because we see once again the power and renewing properties of forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows us to put the past behind us instead of having it block the road to becoming more like Christ.
If you know that your spiritual development has come to a standstill, it's worth asking yourself if you need to ask for or extend forgiveness.
Renews our faith in and love for God
After you've forgiven someone for doing something that really hurt you, you realise to a greater extent how great our God truly is. When you're prompted with such a pertinent reminder of how He is great enough to forgive all of our sins and love us without bounds, you can't help but be inspired to be the person He wants you to be.
Moreover, knowing how hard it was for us to forgive, which is nothing compared to what God has done, makes His love even more astounding. All of this reinvigorates our relationship with Him.