Joyce Meyer - How to Truly Forgive - Part 1
Joyce Meyer: To me, that's what God wants us to do. He wants us to choose to do the right thing. No matter what somebody else does, we choose to do the right thing.
Ginger Stache: Yeah.
Jai Williams: That's so good. Like, and also, with that like, forgiveness, I've just realized, it's not forgetting or excusing the, you know, the bad behavior. And when you say that, like, I know, for a fact, that this particular season that I've just walked through, I would not have been able to do it without everybody watching this, you, and your testimony, you guys, because I did somethin' last week. I don't know if I told ya'll. My ex is getting married. Ok? You all have been on this little journey with me, right? My ex is getting married. And he's getting married very quickly, and soon. And I knew that my daughter was about, well, I found out that they, you know, that my daughter's in the wedding and they're about to move in together. Whoo! They're about to move in together and all that good stuff. And that was hard.
Joyce Meyer: Sure it was.
Jai Williams: But I knew the right thing to do was to bless them, forgive them, and have a conversation because we're now in this thing together. Even though, my daughter's 18, we're still like, I guess you call it a blended family. I don't know. Like, we're now in this. And I'm not trying to be anybody's best friend, but I'm saying, if my daughter's livin' there, like, we're about to be connected, you know? So, I was just like, it's the right thing to do to speak to, you know, her and him. And so, we got on, I requested a call. We had a call. And it was like, "Hey, I just wanted to introduce myself to you guys, or to you, and blessings to you all in your marriage". And I really was genuinely...
Joyce Meyer: Good for you.
Jai Williams: I know it was God. But I know because of your testimony.
Joyce Meyer: But, I mean, look at how far God's brought you in the last year, to be able to do that. And that's exactly the kind of behavior that God is looking for, and it takes spiritual maturity. And you did yourself such a favor in doing that. Because you could have lost your relationship with your daughter, if you would have handled it a different way, and just been full of bitterness and angry all over again. And it's really, God does not tell us to forgive people for them. It's not because they deserve it. It's because we deserve it.
Ginger Stache: And I'm sure you didn't really look forward to doing that. You didn't really feel like doing it.
Jai Williams: No, my heart was beating. I was nauseous the entire, like, time before. You know, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I thanked her for, like, including my daughter in the wedding. Like, and as soon as I got off the phone, I kept the call short, you know, because I could feel myself about to take a little turn.
Ginger Stache: All the sudden, she's like, "Ok, gotta go"!
Jai Williams: "Bless you guys, and let me tell you, bye ya'll". You know, so stop before I went too far. But I remember, when this was just like a week ago now. So, I hung up the phone, and I remember shaking like crazy, and just, I cried. I couldn't control the emotions. I almost had, it felt like a little, like, a panic attack. But it only lasted for about like, five or ten minutes. Was like, "God, you have to help me". And then, I took a deep breath. I prayed, I was like, I let go of it. It's nothing I can do about the situation. This whole journey has felt like a dream. It's felt like this isn't happening to me. Like none of this is happening, you know. But in that moment, it still felt like a dream. Nothing really changed. It still felt hurt. It didn't feel as hard as hurtful as it's been feeling. But I felt like a weight lifted off of me because I did it, but I still felt sad.
Joyce Meyer: But how good do you feel that you did... That you know, in your heart, that you did what God would have you do.
Jai Williams: Amazing. I felt so great.
Joyce Meyer: That's the thing that's...
Jai Williams: I feel so great about it. And I didn't wanna do it. But I knew that, that was the right thing to do. This is no kudos to me, because I was like, "God, why would you make me do it"?
Ginger Stache: Yeah, but so proud of you. So proud of you.
Jai Williams: Thank you, friend.
Ginger Stache: That's awesome.
Joyce Meyer: That's a good lesson for everybody, right there.
Ginger Stache: Yeah. I think there's so much to be learned in doing the hard things. And nobody wants to have to be in that situation. And like you said, God, maybe that wasn't his master plan for us. But people make choices, and there's sin in the world, and we all have to make really hard decisions. And for you to learn, for all of us to learn, when we do make that decision, that God'll be there for us, he's not gonna let us down, and he's going to help us, that makes such a difference. I've really, talking about trying to be unoffendable. I've spent a lot of time learning that when you get these little hurts, and nicks, and bruises of things that just happen every day, that the sooner I forgive, the quicker they heal. And if I don't, even the little things, you know, somebody says something, or whatever, somebody did something. If I don't, those wounds get deeper, and you replay 'em in your mind, and they get bigger, maybe, than they ever were. Or you share it with somebody else, and together, you go, and it becomes a scar and a really deep wound, when it was never meant to be that. So, if I can jump on these things right away, and choose to forgive as soon as I can, it's made a huge difference for me. But kind of like you're talking about, I had one situation, years ago, where just, out of the blue, I guess, what I would call it, a terrible betrayal from a friend. Really, really severe, just blatant lies and totally shocked. And I was so hurt. And when you get something like that, out of nowhere, out of nowhere, and you're completely blown away and just shocked, I think the hard thing to do, is to begin with, "Ok, I need to forgive, right now. You know, I need to do it as soon as I can". And while that's true, there is a little bit of preparation that you kind of have to do for that wound. You gotta start to clean it. You know, you can't just put a band-aid on it, or it will come back up later. And I really learned that, through that time, that I had a lot of work in my heart to do that was part of that forgiveness process. So, it wasn't just a, "Ok, God, I'm gonna forgive, and I'm not going to think about this anymore. I'm gonna move on, forgive and forget it". It doesn't work that way. It was God showing me step, by step, by step. This is what you do first, you know, you make the decision to forgive. And then, you stop wallowing in it. You stop reliving it. You stop thinking, "What will I say next time I see that person"? You know, so many steps that he showed me, that really helped me to get through that really deep wound, that I'm so grateful for because it's taught me so much for the future. And like, you said, I think it did help prepare me for what God wanted to do in different areas of my life.
Joyce Meyer: One of the first things that God wants us to do, that's so helpful, is to pray for the people that hurt you.
Erin Cluley: It's so hard.
Ginger Stache: And it's really hard in the beginning.
Erin Cluley: It is.
Ginger Stache: It gets easier.
Joyce Meyer: Yeah.
Ginger Stache: Oh! Don't make us feel bad!
Jai Williams: "It's not that hard". I didn't even want to read a certain book of the Bible because it was his name. I was like, "Rrr... Skip that one"!
Joyce Meyer: I'll tell you, what helped me. I used to think that if I prayed for God to bless somebody, you know, he's gonna give 'em all these nice, new things and promote 'em, and, you know, but that's not really, when you pray for God to bless somebody who's "In sin" or who's done something wrong, probably, the first thing he's gonna try to bless 'em with is some truth in reality about their own behavior. So, we make a mistake when we think the Bible says, "Pray for them, bless and do not curse them". And that literally, means "Pray for them. Don't say evil things about them, but say good things".
Ginger Stache: Yeah, with that I'm praying, "Bless 'em really good, Lord. Show 'em some really good stuff".
Jai Williams: "All the blessings".
Joyce Meyer: Really, I mean, you know, praying for my dad, all those years, finally brought him to the reality that what he had done was wrong. And, you know, long story, short, and everybody's heard it, he finally was saved as a result, I'll never forget, when he looked at Dave and he said, "Dave, most men, in your position, would have killed me. And all you ever did was show me love".
Ginger Stache: That's a huge statement.
Joyce Meyer: And so, like, what you did, in this last situation, in a way, not that you're trying to do something to them, but you did more to them, than if you would have openly come against them. Because that kind of love, you can't argue with that. It's like, what can you do with that? You can't find any fault with that.
Jai Williams: Yeah. And the crazy thing is, like, it immediately made me think of some of the things that I've gone through, I think when we first, first, first started the podcast, I would talk about my issue with my father. And that was before I even found out about the infidelity or anything, you know? And that was such a hard thing, you know, going through that forgiveness with my dad. And in that moment, it felt like the worst, hardest thing that I could have ever done. But forgiving my dad, even though, my dad never really apologized, like, our relationship now, in these past couple of years has just catapulted, you know. It's nothing he's done. I literally, just like, "You know what? I'm tired of being mad at this man". You know, like, it's exhausting.
Joyce Meyer: That's it. I'm tired of being mad. You know, I'm just too old and been around the mountain too many times to spend another day. I mean, anger is exhausting.
Jai Williams: It is.
Joyce Meyer: It's hard work to stay angry, and to think all those negative thoughts, and, you know, just be mad every time, somebody you don't like, gets blessed, or somebody likes somebody that you don't like. It's like, something that's really helped me is to realize God is only gonna hold me accountable for me. He's not gonna hold me accountable for what somebody else does. But when I stand before him, I'm only gonna be held accountable for me and what I've done. So, my job is to do the right thing, by God's grace, with this help, no matter what anybody else does. And no, that's not easy, but it is easier than the other choice.
Jai Williams: It's so good have been, like, what you said, it's take ownership too, of your role, in the situation. Like, I know, I had a bad attitude with my dad, sometimes. I know, I wasn't the best wife. So, it's like those things, that doesn't justify what anybody else does. But it definitely shifts the perspective on like, "God, how can I grow from this situation? How can I learn from this situation"? So, that ownership piece is very, very vital in the healing and forgiveness process. It's like you said before, forgiving yourself too, like, forgive myself for not necessarily being the best daughter all the time, not being the best wife all the time, not being the best friend all the, you know, like, "God, work on me so that I can learn from my mistakes".
Joyce Meyer: Unforgiveness is probably the single, biggest problem that we have in the body of Christ.
Erin Cluley: Oh, I believe that.
Joyce Meyer: It probably opens more doors for the enemy in people's lives than anything else. Because the Bible says in Ephesians 4, "When you're angry, don't let the sun go down your anger". So, God never tells you not to ever get angry.
Ginger Stache: Right. I'm so glad.
Joyce Meyer: Well, it's a normal human emotion. But he says, "When you're angry, do not sin". So, you feel that anger, but how you handle it, what you do with it is the question. "Don't let the sun go down your anger. Don't give the devil any such foothold in your life". So, we actually, do open a door and invite the devil into our life by staying mad.
Ginger Stache: Well, that needs to be said again. Seriously, because there are so many of us, right now, who are giving the devil that opportunity, and we don't even realize it. We don't even know what's happening.
Joyce Meyer: Yeah, or people wonder, "Why am I having this problem? Well, why'd this happen to me"? Well, maybe you opened the door for the enemy by not being obedient to God in forgiving somebody. You know, I prayed, this morning, hopefully, thousands and thousands of people will hear this, see this, and forgive somebody. But even if one person will forgive somebody, that they're hating or holding something against, the world, that we live in today, is sick, and it's in pain. This whole planet is like a ball of pain, and it's mostly over this kind of stuff. It's people hating people because they're different than they are. Or they're hating people because of something that happened, you know, way back over here, somewhere, that nobody can do anything about now. The answer to so many of our problems is to forgive and to walk in love.
Ginger Stache: This verse Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you". And it's so easy to brush over that. But when we were studying for this, that "Tender-hearted" word, really struck me. Because when I'm really angry and when I'm holding unforgiveness, my heart is hard, you know. It becomes like a rock and, you know, I can be really hardheaded. I told erin this. I had to do something where somebody asked me to use three words to describe myself. And I asked my husband, and one of the words he threw out was "Hardheaded". I'm like, "Wait a minute". I can be hardheaded, but I prefer, like, persistent or determined. Those are better words. But anyway, that's just a little side note for everyone. I'm not angry. I've forgiven him.
Erin Cluley: You've forgiven him about it, good.
Ginger Stache: Yeah, but I don't want my heart to be hard. Because it's really easy. They're kind of connected. My brain and my heart are kind of connected. And I think very logically and when you think about something a lot, your heart goes with it. And I don't want to be hard-hearted. And I've been so blessed, all over the world, to interview so many amazing people and see incredible stories of forgiveness. I remember a story of a man whose brother was murdered, and he went to the prison and forgave the man who murdered his brother. And they became good friends, and he was an advocate for his release. And stories of child soldiers, who, the only reason they were able to get through what they got through, was because, at some point, they had to forgive. And people who clawed their way out of mass graves, who were left for dead, who had to forgive the people that did that to them. I hear those things. And I think of what Jesus forgave. I think of him saying, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".
Joyce Meyer: That's the key. They know not what they do.
Ginger Stache: I get so overwhelmed by that, because the things that people are able to forgive is only through the grace of the Holy Spirit. And it really is a gift when we can do that for one another. And when I see your stories, and when I see what Christ was able to do in other people in the world, I know that I need to take that step to make the decisions, not to let my heart get hard, to treat each other with love.
Erin Cluley: I would like to ask my question now. It rolls nicely into this.
Ginger Stache: Please do.
Erin Cluley: I've been saving it up, you know.
Ginger Stache: I would love to hear it cuz I'm curious.
Joyce Meyer: I started to say, "I'm waiting for this question".
Erin Cluley: It's so good. But I just know, I'm not the only one who's gonna have this kinda question. Lots of our friends are gonna wanna know how you'd answer this. But mike and i, were talking recently, we've been through a year and had some stuff happen. And so, we've gone through this process of forgiveness. And so, it took a while. Like, I couldn't get to it right away. But we got to the point where I felt like I had forgiven him. But things'll come up and I'll get triggered, and all the pain will come back. And I know it hurts him because he'll say, "I thought you forgave me. I thought, we've moved past this". And my response is always, "Yes, I have. But also like, there's pain that I now have to work through". So, how you can't forgive and forget. But how do you forgive and not keep going back to that pain? Or what does that look like?
Joyce Meyer: Well, you know, the word "Forget" is kind of interesting. You know, that in Isaiah, it says, "Do not earnestly remember the past things". So, there's a difference in forgetting something, and sitting around and thinking about it, all the time. So, sure, I can bring back up, and to be honest, every once in a while, I'll find myself drifting off into thinking about some of the things my dad did to me, and I'll start feeling upset. And then, I'm like, "Nope, not going there". So, you can remember if you want to, but you don't have to. You can choose not to. And so, in a way, we can forget. Not that you could never bring it back up. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Erin Cluley: Yeah.
Joyce Meyer: It's like, "Don't earnestly remember," don't just sit around and remember it and rehearse it. And that's why it's important not to just keep talking about it, and talking about it, and talking about it. And yes, when you're hurt, like you were, it's like having a bad fall, there's a bruise, there's a wound, there's a scab. You know, it's like, healing sometimes hurts worse. You know, if you fall and you hurt yourself, it hurts, but then, when that wound starts to form a scab, it actually hurts even worse. So, it does take some time to work through it, but that still doesn't mean that you haven't forgiven.
Erin Cluley: I think it's a really good point that, because I can, when this happened last week, when we had this conversation, I can remember, at what point, whatever happened, it was dumb. It was a dumb thing. But i, in my mind, I flipped over to connect why that made me mad. And I could just feel myself like fueling my own anger and reacting in a way that was totally uncalled for. But I justified it as, "Well, I could be mad. I forgive you, but I'm still mad". So, I can see how I could have made a different choice to stop thinking about that and just not go there.
Jai Williams: Yeah, one of the things that I've been praying, intentionally, since all the stuff that I've been dealing with, was like, I can't wipe away the memory, you know of what happened, and I can't exactly wipe away the fact that I felt the way I felt when I found all of it out and it kept happening. You know, and it's still happening. You know, like, the story doesn't just stop, you know. You have to learn how to live with that. You know, so, I've been praying and asking God, intentionally, "God, please, take the pain away from the memory". Let it, like, let the memory just be a fact. It's a fact that it happened. But I pray that the pain that's affiliated with it leaves. Like, that's one of the things that I've been intentionally praying like. I can't help, like, when I see people in love on a movie. Like, I can't help, when I see people talk about marriage, when I see people talk about, you know, have their family together, you know, or things that I thought we were gonna be. Like, those things trigger me, instantly. And it instantly makes me go back to like, like, it's almost like, it pulls me back into where I was. And like you said, Joyce, like, you have to say, like, "No". Like, yes, that's a fact, but I don't have to feel that pain.
Joyce Meyer: And also, remembering that if you let it, what happened to you, even though it was wrong, if you let it, God can use it to make you a better person. And that was really helpful to me when I realized, when I got to the point where I thought, you know, I've said for years, "If only I wouldn't have been abused... If only I wouldn't have been abused..". Thinking my life would be this, or my life would be that. And I know, I missed so much in childhood. I don't even know what I missed. You know, I don't know what it's like to have a father that you could go to and sit on their lap and ask for advice. I mean, I'm just like totally lost when it comes to that. But I do know that when I finally, I came to the point, one day, I thought, "You know what? I can't even really say I'm sorry that it happened to me," because I know that the fact that it did happen, and that God walked me through it, it's made me who I am today.
Jai Williams: Yeah.
Joyce Meyer: It wasn't God for it to happen. But you will turn out to be a better person than you would have been if you let God use it for that purpose.
Jai Williams: Yeah, I feel it, too.
Ginger Stache: And it helps so many other people, also. I mean, what you're sharing will help so many other people, too, along the way. All those different stories, you know, of forgiveness that I've heard, I never heard anyone, once, ever say, "I wish I would have held on to it a little bit longer. I wish I would have not forgiven".
Erin Cluley: That's good.
Ginger Stache: Everyone is moving forward because they forgave. Not wishing they would have stayed mad longer. And so, you're right. God will use this in all of our lives. Whatever it is that we give to him, he'll use in a positive way, for our good, for his good, and for the good of others.
Erin Cluley: One verse, I love that... It's not about forgiveness in particular, but 1 Corinthians 13 where it talks about what love is. And so, I was going through that recently, and thought, "It's patient and kind". And so, to take whatever situation you're upset about and apply those words to it. I can't change their behavior, but that's how I need to respond. That does make you a better person. I mean, that does help you grow to where God wants to take you, that's your focus, not why you're so angry.
Ginger Stache: Yeah, yeah. Well, this is great stuff. I mean, I really just think several people listening have, maybe, had something that's seeped into their spirit. Maybe you're thinking about forgiving, maybe you're ready to make that choice, maybe you've made it as we've been talking, I don't know. But I'm so grateful for all of you sharing what you've been through and what God's doing.
Joyce Meyer: I always hate to hear somebody say, "I'll never forgive you".
Ginger Stache: Oh, yeah.
Joyce Meyer: Anytime, I hear that, I think, "Ugh," you know. Don't make that vow, to yourself, that you'll never forgive somebody because your life, basically, is on hold until you make the decision to forgive.