The last time I wrote, I was sharing with you a lesson God was teaching me about forgiveness. (See The Power of Forgiveness – Part 1)
The lesson wasn’t over.
I was still battling with my emotions. This week, I’d like to remind you how easy it is to build a wall and how Jesus taught me that I could tear it down.
Yep, I really tried to forgive. I worked hard at it. I thought about the fact that the Lord says that vengeance is His and that He will repay whatever is due. I even tried reciting that if I forgive others God would forgive me, but if I didn’t forgive, then I wouldn’t be forgiven. After a while, I thought that I was doing pretty well with allowing God to heal my heart. I thought I was well on my way to forgiving my husband. Then I noticed that I was slowly withdrawing from the relationship. My wall of indifference was going up.
Before I knew it, I was being chained to this incidence from two weeks past. The Holy Spirit reminded me of my marriage vows; you know that part that says, “In good times and in bad”? Then I had to ask myself a question, “How did I want all of this to end?” Did I want our relationship to dissolve? Did I want a divorce? Did I want to live with my spouse, but just go through the motions; not really being emotionally involved in the relationship; not actually enjoying being married?
You may be thinking, “T’Alice, that’s a little drastic, isn’t it? You know… overkill?” Not really. I’ve found that unforgiveness can be like a silent cancer, eating away at a relationship until the wall of pain and bitterness between two people can become so thick and so high that it seems to be no way to get around it, over it, or through it. And just like cancer, unforgiveness may spread through your heart until you find yourself justifying why you don’t have to forgive not only the person that injured you, but the next person and the next.
Not forgiving someone actually chains you to them, the painful incident, and to your past. It prevents you from moving forward. It hinders your ability to become more and more like Christ, since He was all about forgiveness. (Remember when He was on the cross, He asked His Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do?”)
Back to my story. You see, I would have been through with the matter the same day of the incident if my husband had apologized for being so ‘rude’ to me, but the closest thing to an apology came after three days of ‘coolness’ on my part. He looked at me and said, “Truce.” I couldn’t believe it! Truce! Like this was a game!! I wasn’t being cool to get back at him, I was struggling to remain calm and allow my emotional wounds to heal! (Have you ever been in a similar place?)
That did it! I was mad all over again!
Over the next few days, I prayed and kept the conversational topics general. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing while I was trying to figure everything out. Unfortunately, the weight of trying to reason and reason and figure it all out was wearing me out.
I finally came to the conclusion that I could hold on to the pain and stress, or cast my care on Christ and let Him handle it. Well, I decided to do the latter. It was at that moment that I believe that Jesus taught me one amazing truth.
He revealed to me that while I can’t change my husband’s method of communicating with me, I can still have peace. He reminded me that He has given me the gift of His Holy Spirit, who enables me to control my response and my attitude. I released my hurt and grudge into His hands, breathed a sigh of relief, and instantly felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Immediately, the wall disappeared, and I cracked up laughing inside, realizing that God had given me the power to choose my reaction…
and I chose to forgive and love.
He taught me that no one can keep me from loving.
And that, my dear friends, means you too have POWER over your enemy, Satan, who wants to steal your joy, your peace, your strength, and your ability to love.
What did I learn? That I can choose to love…even when I don’t understand everything that’s going on. The Word says that love covers a multitude of faults. I walked over to my dearest friend, my husband, who was sitting in the recliner, kissed him on the forehead and came downstairs to talk to you…
The battle was won. Whew!
Praise the Lord, I am free.
If you want to discover more of the truths that God’s Word shares on forgiveness, read:
Matthew 6:14-15 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Luke 11: 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.And lead us not into temptation.’”
Acts 10:43 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Matthew 18:21-35 begins with, “ 21 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?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Mark 11:25 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Luke 11: 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of a woman who had sinned much. She showed her gratitude and love to Jesus. “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Colossians 3:12-16 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
While these scriptures are not all that God has to say about how we must care for each other, they help you to understand that God is love and part of loving someone is choosing to forgive. Until next time, I’m going to do my best to stay free by choosing to forgive. I hope that you will choose to do the same. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the journey!
Today’s questions – How has forgiveness lightened your heart? How has not forgiving kept you from moving forward in your journey?
© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. I hope you’ll return. You don’t want to miss what God is teaching me!