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Forgiveness- The Hardest Lesson I Have Ever Had to Learn

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: Forgiveness- The Hardest Lesson I Have Ever Had to Learn

Tuesday

Forgiveness- The Hardest Lesson I Have Ever Had to Learn


I saw a church sign that made me laugh, it said “Don’t give up! Moses was once a basket case!”

I needed that giggle. There are moments when I feel like I have taken the short bus, missed the boat, and in general missed the mark. In those times, I have to stop and evaluate what it is I am hearing in my mind. I have to decide if I am hearing the prompting of the Spirit, myself, or the voice of an enemy that seeks to steal (my joy) kill (my dreams) and destroy (me). So let me share with you my struggles and triumphs today.

Around eight years ago, my parents and I had a falling out. It was years in the making, like a good (or bad) fruit cake it had many ingredients and layers of flavor. My father and I said things that were ugly: some true and some untrue and all of it was wrapped around my offences and sense of rejection.

In the last eight years God has dealt with me about forgiveness and I have apologized, but the fact is, not much in the natural has changed. We barely nod in each other’s direction, and have only had one or two occasions to speak in all that time. This makes me sad. (I have purposed in my heart to always be honest here and that means that it may not always be pretty. This is just part of my story, and told from my point of view. I would never say this is all of the history.)

So why share something so personal with you? Why drag our family laundry out? I write this to show you that hurt and offence can lead to things that can change the course of not only your life, but others as well. Since this, I have barely talked to my brothers, it damaged my relationship with my sister, and I have a nephew I have never met. My kids miss out on a life full of cousins and grandparents and all that entails.

Bruises, iniquities, the old wounds that we almost forget about until someone knocks into them, are the hardest to get over. They are the ones we hold onto and caress like a little child. The ones we bring out at holidays and birthdays and special occasions to nurse until no one around can ignore the pain they cause. When we do this we pay more attention to the bruise than to the Healer. I am guilty of that.

God has dealt with me about forgiveness before, but like the children of Israel I guess I am going around that mountain again. Matthew 18:22-35 is clear. When we do not forgive we get handed over to the torturer.  That is what poking at those bruises is: torture!



When we forgive, we allow ourselves to be the ones that heal. God is able to deal with a contrite heart, and when we ask him to wash our hearts in His laundry, who cares what we air in public? That whole healed heart instead of a broken tortured one is a testimony for all to see that God’s love is a transforming love, an overcoming love.

Because God is a loving God, and His love transforms us to be more like Him, walking in forgiveness becomes easier. Recognizing immediately that we need to forgive and letting go of offense is something that we work out like our faith. The more we do it, the bigger those spiritual muscles get, and the easier the heavy lifting, like forgiveness, gets.

When we forgive and let go of offense, those bruised places begin to heal, and we become a less “prickly” person. Admit it, when you have a hurt, like rejection, you become easily offended when you feel rejection again. Whether the rejection was real or perceived, offence has come. You have a choice now: Nurse the hurt like a newborn so it can grow, or cut it out like the cancer it is and be free. Give no foothold to the devil.  

Without forgiveness our faith is stunted. It cannot grow and be effective. So how do we do this?

Well, let me show you what I have learned and what I must keep before me at all times so that I can actively walk in a lifestyle of forgiveness. We have to continually choose.

First, decide that you are going to walk in forgiveness, don’t wait until you feel like it. Before that is likely to happen, you will have more wrinkles than an elephant. Jesus gave us an example in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our sins as we forgive others”. If we got the importance of forgiveness we would live radically different lives. It is after all the crux of the gospel. We were the ones who offended God, and He found a way to forgive us.

Proverbs 19:9 says he who covers and forgives an offence seeks love. Proverbs 19:11 says a sensible person restrains his anger and overlooks offence.

Next rely on God. It takes His Spirit to dwell in us, giving us peace and comfort when we feel attacked and hurt to walk in love and forgiveness. These are fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. I am a big believer in God putting things in order. First comes His love, then the joy of our salvation, then peace that passes understanding, then long-suffering (active dedication to the things of God) then kindness to those who don’t deserve it, lavishing goodness on them and being faithful to God by ministering to them.  

Finally, pray for them that use you and mistreat you. Bless them and do not curse them. If you can’t say anything nice then at least SHUT UP! Recently, within the last three years, I was hurt at a church by some very big things. I was intent on staying until I got over the offence, and it took a year. I am so glad I did. First and foremost because I can still point people to that church if they are looking for a home church, and second, because I in no way want to diminish what God is doing there because I was a whiner.

I may not agree with everything someone does, but I will not focus on their faults: that is God territory, not Dayna territory. So when I pray for them instead of talk badly about them, and I actively bless them with my words, it allows God to work on my behalf with them.


Do not fall into the trap of becoming bitter. When you feel like “it is not fair if” then you walk a very dangerous line. God is the judge of fair; all we are supposed to do is obey. He is the details guy. When we look at our life, it is like we look at a photograph, only seeing what is in the frame. God sees what is all around the frame, the hidden things, the things just out of sight, and around the corner. That is why He says Trust in Him and not in our own understanding. Forgiveness is for you, let God deal with "them".

Be blessed and be a blessing and remember forgive is a verb! 

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