Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thinking about forgiveness.....

Sometimes, when I'm going about my life feeling pretty good about myself, maybe getting a little too happy with myself, I'm struck with a reminder about my human-ness, my sinfulness. And that's a good thing. It's not good to get too proud or too pleased with oneself, and I know this. So a few minutes ago I'm feeling pretty good about me, and then I go browsing Facebook and I'm hit with all sorts of ugly emotions that remind me how human I am, and how sinful I am, and how badly I need a savior in my life.

Because I feel hatred when I should be feeling love.

Because I feel bitterness when I should be feeling love.

Because I feel anger when I should be feeling love.

Because I harbor resentment when I should forgive.

I need to really work on my ability to forgive.

I'm quick to tell others that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die, I'm quick to point out that usually only the grudge holder suffers. But when it comes to applying that in my own life, I'm not so quick. I'm holding a BIG grudge. It's ugly and strong and laden with bitterness and anger, it's not good. And since I don't see this person daily, it's easy to forget those feelings are there. It's easy for me to pretend I've forgiven and forgotten, until something happens that reminds me how unhealed those wounds are and how alive my grudge still is. It doesn't feel good to hate. It feels awful to resent. And it's true, that holding a grudge IS like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. And I don't want feelings like this in my heart and in my life.

I want to learn to forgive.

In fact, the Bible says we have to.

Matthew 6:14-15
14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

If we want to receive God's forgiveness, we have to be willing to give it as well. And I have a lot to be forgiven for, I need God's grace and his forgiveness of my shortcomings and sins, so I guess I better suck it up and start giving it out.

Ephesians 4:32 offers an alternative to bitterness and hatred and unforgivness...
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Tall order. VEEEEEEERY tall order. Insurmountable I might even say. But through Christ all things are possible, so I won't say it. But how? How do you forgive someone who wronged you? Who disregarded your feelings? Devalued your relationships? Underestimated your value? How? You just do. And once you do it, stick to it, no going back. There's no atonement. To retribution. No revenge. It's just done.

I'm trying. Because I have to. And because it will feel better when I do. If you'll pardon a disgusting medical analogy, it will be like lancing a boil! The bitterness will be released like an infection. The pain will subside. The irritation will go away with time and healing will begin. Gross analogy, but fitting.

Once I've got this big forgiveness out of the way, I'll be all warmed up and ready to forgive some more, I'll be on a forgiveness roll and that should be pretty fun! Who knows who and what I'll forgive next! Our marriage counselor says that Elvis and I will have a forgiveness assignment coming up, that'll be a horse of a different color, but after I get this really big resentment off my back I'm sure our homework between one another will be all the easier to approach and tackle! And all forgiveness is good. Forgiveness makes way for all kinds of good things. Like love and joy and trust and contentment. So I'm ready to try it!

One last piece of fitting scripture before I go:

Hebrews 12:14-15
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Good stuff! The Bible is full of it! (Who knew?)



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