// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
WHENEVER WE START a new year, I like to look at it as a blank page. We have a clean slate on which to write new pages of history. As we face each day, it's important to do so with a positive attitude. Often we're held back from accomplishing the things God desires because we're continually looking backwards. We're focusing on past failures or letting our minds dwell on people who've hurt us. I'm amazed when I hear someone say, "I remember what so-and-so did to me 30 years ago. I will never forget it, nor will I ever forgive them for how they treated me."
When we adopt attitudes like this, not only are we going against established principles in Scripture, but we're also blocking blessings that God desires to bestow upon us. I admit, some people have an easier time forgiving others. My husband is one of them. He grew up in a home where forgiveness was always practiced.
I didn't have the privilege of learning that principle as a child. And I struggled with forgiving those who hurt me. When my husband and I began working for Kenneth Hagin Ministries, my father-in-law often taught on faith and forgiveness. He always began his messages with the verses he is known for.
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:23–24).
As Brother Hagin ministered, I'd get excited about speaking to my mountain and seeing the desires of my heart come to pass. I wanted my father-in-law to stop at verse 24. But he never did. He always read verses 25 and 26 too.
"And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:25–26).
I can still hear Brother Hagin's words ringing in my ears: "If you don't practice forgiveness, your faith won't work for you." I decided quickly that I'd better learn how to forgive others, although I really didn't know how. Just saying "I forgive you" never erased the memory of the incident. I asked my father-in-law the secret and he simply said, "You just do it." His answer didn't help me. So I asked my husband and he said the same thing.
I'm so thankful that when we go to our Heavenly Father with questions, He knows our personalities. He knows how to communicate to us in ways we'll understand.
The Lord directed me to Matthew 5:44. I like to call my Bible the "Instruction Book." It's where all of the answers to our questions are found. This verse says, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
The Lord then gave me these instructions: "Read Matthew 5:44 every day and then pray for the one who hurt or offended you. Do this until you can read this verse without thinking about the person or the offense."
You might wonder how long it took. Truthfully, some offenses were so deep that I read that scripture and prayed for that person for 10 years. But today, because I have the revelation of forgiveness so strongly on the inside of me, I am able to release hurts and forgive instantly.
As I was writing "Seed Thoughts," I felt impressed that some of you reading this article needed to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply. In fact, unforgiveness has even caused health issues in your body. I encourage you to let go of the hurt and forgive that person. When you do, you will open the door to the bright future God has prepared for you. Your year will go so much better when you learn the secret of forgiveness.