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Walk In God's Forgiveness & Love
Walking In God's Forgiving Love
Have you ever had someone that you love hurt you so deeply that you couldn’t begin to entertain the thought of forgiving them? I have. There are people that have hurt me over and over again. I love these people more than I thought it was possible to love another human being for one reason and one reason only ... God has given me His supernatural love for them and I chose to walk in that love. Yes, loving them is a choice. I could so easily choose not to do so.
As a child, I can remember people coming to my parent’s home and I would embrace them with the trusting love that only a child can give. The time would come for them to go home and I would hug them, crying because they were leaving and I didn’t want them to go. My little child’s heart had bonded with them in the short time that they had been a guest in our home. They were family. To some this is plain silly to others it was very touching. In time, I changed.
As I became an adult … I became a little more guarded or should I say a little more jaded. Loving people in that way was too painful … it made me too vulnerable to being hurt, manipulated and controlled. So, I loved a little less and guarded my heart a little more.
One day as I was praying, I was talking to God and He said, “I want you to love like you did when you were a child.” “No, Lord … that hurts too much. I can’t do it.” I responded. I immediately remembered the pain of loving that way. I couldn’t fathom loving that way again yet there was this piece of me that wondered what it be like to love that way once more. I am a little bit like the man in the Bible whose first response was “No” but he would always go and do what had been requested of him in the long run. God knew He had placed the ability to love that way within me and I longed to love that way despite my initial “No.” response.
So, I began to let go and love the way a child loves … with great joy and pleasure. Loving this way causes a vulnerability that often makes me open to deep wounding by those that I love in this fashion. It is also the kind of love that requires the ability to forgive … that was and still is one of the biggest challenges of loving in this way.
A member of my family that I love very much and still do wounded me deeply. I believed that they had loved and accepted me as a daughter. Time told that this was not the case and something occurred that revealed their true heart for me. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. I love this person like a mother but they don’t return that love. It hurt to the core of my being. I took it to God. He gave me specific instructions to follow over a six month time frame … I was to prepare a gift for this person and in doing so I would receive a gift. He promised me that I would be healed and set free. I was not to be concerned with anything other than the promise.
Six months came in September and the gift was almost ready. I went to the Lord and asked Him to confirm His Word to me. You see, as a person that loves this way … there is a flaw that comes with it … you tend to be a people pleaser. I didn’t want to give the gift out of my flesh but out of a true desire to be obedient to God and a true desire to walk in His love and forgiveness. I asked Him to confirm that I had heard correctly. Was I to give the gift to this person? Was now the time? I knew what to expect … no response from the person. No acknowledgement. Was I opening myself up for more hurt? Was I being foolish? Was I hearing rightly? As I questioned, I picked up my journal from several months before to try and find the page where I had written His words to me. As I picked it up, it fell open to the page where I had cried out to Him to help me to forgive this person and let it go. As I read my prayer, I heard Him say … “Yes, you heard rightly and as you obey me … you will receive the promise.”
As a Believer, I am commanded to love those who despitefully use and abuse me. I am called to forgive those who have hurt me so that I can receive the promise of being forgiven. His Word says in Luke 6:37-42 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." I got it. When I forgive … there is a promise that goes with the forgiving. I am getting something more than what I have given. I wasn’t to judge, condemn or hold this person captive … I was to release them and bless them in the process.
So, I gave the gift and I received more than I thought possible in the giving. I received a heart of forgiveness, compassion and a renewed love for the person despite the fact that they may never receive it. I received a peace that surpasses all understanding and a measure of grace and mercy that I don’t have room enough to receive it. And I was given the gift of God’s unfailing, unconditional, everlasting love and the ability to walk in that love should I chose to do so … it is still a choice.
My favorite scripture about love is I Corinthians 13 which says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ”
Daily, I am challenged to walk in this type of love. People offend me, hurt me, anger me and cause me to question why God would want me to love in this fashion. And then, I remember His love for me … He isn’t asking me to die at least not physically. He is asking me to die to myself in that I must love the way He loves and forgive the way He has forgiven. It is to my benefit that I make the right choice. It is to your benefit as well.