Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Forgive Me?

My church is doing a series during Lent called," Through the Eyes of the Cross" and today was on forgiveness. If you read my blog from early this morning, then you know I had not slept a great deal and was so tired sitting there listening to the preacher talk…..yet, I could not seem to keep my mind off his topic….forgiveness. Jesus hung on a cross….a perfect person….and asked God to forgive the world… why is forgiveness such a hard thing for me?Well let’s talk first about what exactly this difficult word means. Forgiveness to me is, plain and simple, giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me. I mean come on lets face it….it is absolutely impossible for us to live on this planet without getting hurt, offended, misunderstood, lied to, rejected, or all of the above. The most important lesson that we all need to learn is how to respond properly when it does happen to us.

All through my life I discovered this morning that I was not clear on what’s actually involved with the act of forgiveness. I learned today that forgiveness is not saying that things are hunky dory now, and then going back into an abusive situation. Just like it is not letting someone off the hook by saying, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” I had always been taught that forgiveness is, was, should be….unconditional love with no boundaries. It was that kind of forgiveness I could not handle….well it appears that that is not what forgiveness is about. I don’t have to deny to myself that the hurtful situation exists, and I don’t have to pretend that no one hurt my feelings, and I don’t have to stick my head in the ground and not see the existence of a hurtful situation. Whew…I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders this morning. How cool is this information….and here I have been going around feeling like a bad person….because I could not pretend the situations were there…even when I had asked for forgiveness.

The Bible gives us a great deal of instruction when it comes to forgiveness but I guess the one that struck closest to home this morning was that we are to forgive….because we have been forgiven by God (Ephesians 4:32). Busted! I can’t expect people to forgive if I don’t forgive…and again….Jesus forgave me…on a cross…dying for stuff I had done….not him. Ouch. Could I do that…..I think not. As much as I wish I could stand here and sound like Super Christian Forgiver….I can’t!

Now…I also learned today….and not as a happy camper…that we are to forgive others to gain control of our lives from hurt emotions (Genesis 4:1-8). Ouch. Now there Kevin went and walked all over my toes. Actually, I believe he called me out in church. I felt myself blushing like a fog light on a light house. Then he slayed me with Hebrews 12:14-15 when he said, “we forgive so we won’t become bitter. I cut my eyes around to make sure everyone was not looking at me. I stayed in a mentally abusive relationship probably 22 years longer than I should have….because I thought it was what was right, what God expected of me, what everyone else expected of me….and became bitter at the end. I finally realized that if I did not leave….I was going to lose my mind. Everything I believed as a Christian was shattering… one day….I packed a few things up….and moved on…..the problem is….I just never could forgive him. I wanted him to change and come and get me….and when he didn’t….I was angry….and refused to forgive.

Today…at the altar of my church….I finally let it go. It was sweet release.You know, there are times we don’t feel like forgiving those who have wronged us. It is easier to just move on and pretend we have dealt with it. But are Christians people who have a non-forgiving nature? I certainly hope not! If you can’t or don’t forgive….you WILL become a very bitter person, and you know bitterness has been linked to stress-related illnesses. Is not forgiving worth your health? By forgiving others, we become free, both spiritually and emotionally. Hallelujiah. I could not sleep last night….and today I know why….God wanted me to be pliable….and ready to listen to His word….and listen I did. If you are reading this….and I have ever hurt you….please forgive me. If you are reading this and you have hurt someone else….ask for forgiveness. I promise you, you will feel a whole lot lighter. I am not saying this is easy....and that I have arrived. I certainly haven't. I made one small step today....I still have some giant strides to take....but after today I am willing to start walking!

Bless you all real good!

1 comment:

Ms. Marty said...

What beautiful thoughts!! I, too, went through a bad situation in my first marriage. He wasn't abusive physically but emotionally. It was a long time after the divorce that I finally realized that I could not be the kind of person God expected me to be if I would not let go of that hurt. Today I can talk to him and actually be friends with him if the case arises. Would you believe he sends me emails? He is married and happy now. How much of our lives are wasted due to butterness and this "Woe is me." attitude? All have been hurt and sometimes we just have to get over it. We must also be careful not to hurt.
Thank you for words that I needed, especially now as we battle with the judicial system concerning our son. God bless.