Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Being Real About Forgiveness

I somewhat jokingly spoke about being "real" in yesterday's post. Of course, being real in some situations (like the weather) is different (and much easier) than being real in others and, today, ALL.DAY.TODAY (no matter how much I try to ignore it), God has been reminding me of the realness of which I spoke. Only, in this instance, He has asked me to be REAL about where I stand as it applies to the forgiveness of others. And, can I just get it out there by saying that I AM STRUGGLING TO FORGIVE OTHERS. There you have it. Now what?

The thing is, that the grace that I need to extend to others doesn't even really have to do with me personally. It is for actions taken, words spoken, etc. that were actually spoken toward someone(s) that I care deeply for. Indeed, the final outcome affected MANY (including myself and my family) but I wonder, who do I think I am not to be able to get past it?

I can say that I forgive but I continue to go back to the wrongs that were done. that true forgiveness? Is forgiveness a choice or is it a feeling? If I say I've forgiven, yet the hurt hasn't been healed, where do I go from here? What if I even wish these people all God's best in the future? Can I be real again and say that the fact that I do so is simply because I want GLORY for HIM (and not them)? Can we, in the flesh, forgive and forget or are we even expected to? I think that the answer to this lies in Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

As I was typing this post and took a break from it, I found the following information about forgiveness. I guess if I weren't being so REAL today, I could've gone back and removed the first part of my post and just pretended that I had it all figured out on my own but that wouldn't be so. Thanks be to Him for answering so many of my self-imposed questions and for doing a work in me that I can not do on my own. Please let me share what He has shown me today.

  • We forgive by faith, out of obedience. Since forgiveness goes against our nature, we must forgive by faith, whether we feel like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete.

  • I (the writer) believe that God honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work in his time. We must continue to forgive (our job) by faith, until the work of forgiveness (the Lord's job), is done in our hearts.

  • Corrie Ten Boom once said, "To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you."

  • We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the bitterness, anger, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us. Most times, however, forgiveness is a slow process.
In closing, in Matthew (chapter 18), Peter asks, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" and Jesus said, "I do not say to you, up to seven times but up to seventy times seven."

I guess I have a long way to go.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Did this hit home today or what? I have been really struggling TODAY, myself, with trying to let go of the past. It just keeps coming back out of nowhere. I know I still have a way to go. Kim

Anonymous said...

This hit home for me also, not just today but everyday lately. Its even been comming out in my dreams. Thanks for your input on this subject. I'm sure we are not the only ones struggling with this. This is the devils way of getting to us trying to tear us down. We've got to remember as many people got hurt we have also seen alot of good come from this!

Linda said...

Great post Kelley. It is a wonderful reminder 70x7. I have found that when I do not forgive I am the one enslaved. The pain of being hurt does not immediately go away with forgiveness but healing can begin. I've heard it said before that when I forgive I am just leaving the punishing and judgement to God. Sometimes I want to make that person pay for what they did to me. God takes care of the punishment and I can be assured He will even if it is not the way I would have chosen or even if I don't see it, He does take care of it. This is such a hard topic thanks for posting about it.