- Religion and Philosophy
The Amazing Gift of Forgiveness
DISCOVERING THE HEALING POWER OF FORGIVENESS
How I truly discovered this gift...
I was sitting in front of my television, chips and drink in hand, and watching a show that was following the life of a young girl in her teens. As I watched and listened to her story, I became increasingly uncomfortable and to my surprise, angry! I was agitated and uncomfortable. I had NO clue why.
I kept fidgeting and shuffling from side to side. Moving my legs from this position to that one. My arms from here to there... I could not get comfortable. All the while my heart was going out to this young girl and it felt as if, I could actually feel HER pain.
I was angry for her! I was hurt for her! I was mad at those who had done this child wrong and wanted to tell them so! I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her that those people had NO say in whom she would become. They could not determine her future, unless she allowed them to. I wanted to scream into the t.v. so she could hear me, but of course we all know that, that doesn't work. ;0) (smiling with a wink!)
The show ended, but my anger did not.
"Why had this show angered me so?" I kept asking myself.
"Where was all this anger coming from? I didn't know this girl...and would never know her."
The evening went on and it soon came time for bed.
I like to read my bible before lying down, some nights I am more successful than others, but as I shuffled through the pages trying to decide what I wanted to read, they fell open to the following scripture:
Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
I thought.."Surely this is not for me." so I shuffled the pages again and they fell open to these scriptures:
Matt. 8: 21-22: "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not until seven times, but until seventy times seven."
These scriptures were about mercy and forgiveness! "Why do I need to read about mercy and forgiveness?" I asked.
I really thought it was all coincidental, so I moved through the pages to find something else, when I fumbled upon the next scripture:
" So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
The "Proverbial" light bulb went off in my thick, hard head at this point!
I was so moved by the young girls story because it mirrored some of my past and I could feel her pain because it was so similar to my own. I had not forgiven! I was still brooding and holding on to the hurt from long ago!
He is a God of Mercy and Grace. He is a God that loves to give the gift of forgiveness...Who am I to withhold such a gift from others when our Lord so willingly offers it to them and myself alike? Who am I to think that I am more worthy than my own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
I began to cry and call out to God to help me! I knew I could not do this thing alone and I could not give this gift of forgiveness without him.
Lord, help my unwillingness to forgive. Help me to see that it only hurts me when I hold onto that memory that causes anger and unforgiveness to rise up within me. I am only hurting myself and those closest to me when I hold onto the hurts and wrong doings from my past. I had to forgive myself for the wrongs I had done to others and forgive others for the wrongs, I felt, were done to me.
I cannot possibly move forward in my walk with you, if I am living in the pains and the hurts of times past.
I am not forgiven, If I cannot forgive! I want forgiveness...I want to forgive! I want to be worthy of your blessings. I want to be found humble and forgiving when I approach your throne for mercy...for myself or for my loved ones. I cannot ask for something I am unwilling to give. Help me Father to be willing...Amen.
There was an immediate load lifting that took place. A load I didn't even realize I was carrying. I could actually call out the names of those I felt had caused me pain from childhood to now. I was able to say that I wished them nothing but good and I wanted them to be blessed. I wanted them, if they hadn't already, to find Christ! The joy that filled my heart was so overwhelming that I would be crying one minute and laughing the next!
What an AMAZING gift this gift of forgiveness is! It's not only good for those around you, but extremely rewarding to yourself. It brings about healing and restoration to so many areas of your life. I think that is the part that I found to be the most wonderful! I could let go of things that only caused me pain. Others had moved on, but I had remained stuck in the past.
I've made so many mistakes down through life and have failed so many times, but this experience helped me to realize that I had failed so often because I allowed unforgiveness to remain in my heart. I let those memories from my past direct the steps to my future. I had my feelings riding on my shirt sleeves where the devil could easily rub up against them and stir up all the old hurt and the feelings of unworthiness from back then, so that when faced with a challenge... I would hide or quit.
I now rely on this scripture for courage and strength when I feel inadequate:
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
We will always be subjected to hurt down here. Humans are so prone to it. This world thrives upon it. The reality shows of today are our best examples of the worst that can be in our natures. The "Get Ahead At Any Cost" mind set seems to be the resounding theme and sadly the reason for their success. We, as a society, thrive on the hurt and downfall of others. We love to create superstars out of the most unlikely candidates and when they prove to be mere humans, we quickly grow tired of them. We treat Jesus the same way, yet he loves us and offers us his forgiveness.
I pray, as you read this, you will allow him to minister to your own unforgiveness . I want you to experience the JOY of the Lord the way I have. I want you to have something to look back upon when you, like myself at times, need to be reminded of why we are required to forgive.
I thank God daily for this experience. I often have to revisit it and by the way, I still fail...I am human, but I never fail to ask forgiveness and to extend it when necessary (perhaps, sometimes not as quickly as I should)...none the less, it is required by the one who so lovingly and willingly extended it to me.
I cannot stand before him and ask for something I am not willing to give...nor can you.
Your Friend In Christ,