I can almost hear the sighs of exasperation. You are probably thinking to yourself, “seriously, she’s going to talk to me today about forgiveness? She has no idea what I am going through, what’s been done, what’s been said or how far off track things have gotten lately.”
You know what, you are absolutely right!
I don’t know what you are going through or have been through. I don’t know how bad it is gotten in your world lately, nor do I need to because I can tell you this, it has been a doozy of a run in my world too.
As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I have stamped my foot (a lot here lately) and cried out to God that this just isn’t “fair”.
This is just as hard for me to write as it is for you to read because I have been wrestling with God over this one and here’s what I’ve come up with.
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15 ESV (underscoring mine)
But. I never thought about it that way.
But..if you do not, neither will your Father.
But…I don’t want to. I still hurt from it.
Oh my friend, you have no idea how much this pains me to write, but here it goes…we need to forgive much because we have been forgiven much.
There, I said it.
This is not to say that you agree with what has happened, but that you are cancelling that debt against you.
When we hold on to that anger, resentment, bitterness, anxiety, frustration, and angst we are the ones left as a hot mess. Not the person or persons that “wronged” us, but us. Chances are they have moved on and gone about their lives while we wrestle and roll over what they said, what they did, how they deceived us or let us down.
We make ourselves sick.
We stress ourselves out and they have moved on.
Why? Why do we do that?
We don’t want that to happen.
We don’t want to wrestle with the anxiety and stress, but we do.
- they hurt my feelings,
- they cheated on me,
- they stole from me,
- they broke my heart.
- your Heavenly Father forgave you,
- your Heavenly Father will never leave you,
- your Heavenly Father will take care of you,
- your Heavenly Father loves you like crazy.
It won’t be easy, I have to be honest with you, some days you have to start by saying it from your head. Soon, maybe not the same day or the same week, but soon you will be able to say it from your heart.
The hard part is making that decision today. When you start to give it over to God and find yourself picking it back up because you wonder how many times you will have forgive, then remember the words found in Matthew 18:21-22.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
I don’t always “want to” either, but I’m learning (right alongside each of you) that it is way too important to forgive and move on than to cling to the anger, bitterness and resentment.
Chances are you will have to forgive several times, and maybe even for the same thing, but wouldn’t that be better than being chained to it for another minute longer?
What about you…
What is something that you’ve been holding on to for far too long?
What steps can you take today to start to forgive?
I’m praying alongside each of you…
PS – Friends, when I talk about forgiveness in this situation I am talking about everything that doesn’t have to do with physical abuse. If you are in an abusive situation then you need to get help immediately. You can start the process of getting healthy emotionally once you are in a safe place.