Choosing Forgiveness as an Act of Courage

By Patsy Burnette

God's Brave Women - Patsy's Story


There I sat, on a bench outside the courtroom. I said, “I forgive you.

I said it to the man who sat at the other end of the bench. Even though I didn’t say it out loud, I said it to myself, in my mind and my heart. I said it, and I meant it. That was the day I chose forgiveness over bitterness.

It certainly would have been easy for me to become bitter when the decision was handed down. Instead, I chose mercy and I also chose to praise God! Bravely, I praised God that my sister was the one who was killed and not the one who killed. I would rather her be dead than to have to live the rest of her life facing the fact that she had killed someone.

It wasn’t easy – the choice to be brave and forgive. But Jesus made it possible.


"I praised God that my sister was the one who was killed and not the one who killed... It wasn’t easy – the choice to be brave and forgive. But Jesus made it possible."

I could have allowed a root of bitterness to spring up for so many reasons, other than the hard fact that my sister was taken from us at such a young age.

I could have been bitter because she was my only sibling. Now, all of a sudden, I was an only child.

I could have been bitter because she was the one who had elected to care for my parents when they were old – she got out of that one! Now, I am the one who will care for them, when she would have done a much better job.

I could have been bitter when we went to court against the man who killed her in a county that was said to be the toughest in the state on DUI cases. He got off with just probation.


Instead...

* I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because Proverbs 4:23 tells us that bitterness will affect us physically.

* I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because Hebrews 12:15 warns us that bitterness will make us a stumbling block to others, cause us trouble, and cause many to be defiled.

* I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because Job 9:18 says that bitterness is worse than death.

* I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because Ruth 1:19 records when Naomi returned to Bethlehem her friends did not even recognize her because she was so filled with bitterness.

* I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because Ephesians 4:31 warns us that bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit.

I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because how can we question God’s working in our lives, and how could I not forgive when I have been forgiven so very much?


"I bravely chose forgiveness over bitterness that day because how can we question God’s working in our lives, and how could I not forgive when I have been forgiven so very much?"

Bitterness will affect us, as well as others, deeply. Bitterness will eat us up inside if we allow it to. It will trouble our hearts if we are not careful, and God does not want this for His Daughters.


The Bible tells us from the heart flows “the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). I did not want bitterness to flow out of my heart that day or any other. So, as I sat on that bench, I did the courageous thing and chose to allow forgiveness to flow. And flow it did!

"The Bible tells us from the heart flows “the springs of life". I did not want bitterness to flow out of my heart that day or any other. So, as I sat on that bench, I did the courageous thing and chose to allow forgiveness to flow."


Friend, I hope you never have to learn to forgive on such a monumental scale as I did that day. But even on a much smaller level, whenever you have the opportunity, do your heart good and choose to forgive.

If you’re in a painful position today, remember how much you have been forgiven and how much you are loved. Allow Jesus to make you brave as He did me. Look at Him and choose forgiveness over bitterness every time!


Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.

AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the BRAVE WOMEN BIBLE STUDY coming out later this year and a sample chapter! *insert happy dance here* SIGN UP for more info on the study’s release and availability!


About Patsy


Patsy is a wife, mother of four, and grandmother. She’s a Christian lifestyle blogger and content manager at InstaEncouragements.com, with a heart for encouraging women to grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and then to share it with others. Patsy drinks more coffee and eats more dark chocolate than the average person. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and Ellie the cat.


You can grab a copy of Patsy's beautiful book The Heart That Heals: Healing Our Brokenness Through the Promises of God and connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy.

Join my email tribe and receive some lovely FREEBIES!

© 2019 by Becky Beresford, Author