Did you ever notice when Jesus forgave those who were responsible for His death?
It was in the midst of His suffering.
Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
This truth struck me this morning as I was praying.
Jesus is the believer’s example in all things and that includes forgiveness.
Thus, we should be quick to forgive, even in the midst of the pain, right in the middle of the wrong, we need to forgive.
What about those things which happened already?
Yes, we need to forgive those who hurt us in the past as well.
Because Christ Jesus forgave us, we must forgive others.
Acts 5:31 NKJV — “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your example, that You chose to forgive, even in the middle of the most horrific abuse You were experiencing. Thank You that it doesn’t matter how much we are hurt, it matters how much You are willing and able to heal the hurt. Lord, thank You for Your incredible sacrifice. Thank You for salvation. Amen.
Ephesians 4:31 NKJV — Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
“Let all …”
And His Word is clear, there’s no room for any.
None, nothing, not even a little bit, because He knows what is best and bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking are not.
Because bitterness is simply choosing not to forgive, holding someone accountable for wrong.
Wrath and anger are close cousins.
The Greek word wrath here means fierceness, indignation, wrath, while this Greek word for anger means anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.
James 1:20 NKJV — for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV — Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
Clamor and evil speaking seem to be occurring at a startlingly rate, anyone can observe it’s not godly.
Proverbs 29:22 NKJV — An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression.
Proverbs 10:18 KJV — He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Instead of these things we are to put on different behaviors, ones that spring forth from a heart forgiven by and surrendered to Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV — And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Kindness and tenderhearted, priceless gifts to be given and to receive.
Luke 6:35 KJV — But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Matthew 6:14 KJV — For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Following Jesus means forgiveness.
Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
For none gave more to forgive than He.
Hebrews 10:10 NKJV — By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Learning to walk in forgiveness is always an opportunity to trust God in everything and to grow, to stretch, to see life and others from His perspective.
Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV — Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for these verses. Lord, I want to live a life of sacrifice unto You. I want my life to be pleasing before You, please help me to learn how, each day. Please help me to walk with You in all things. Lord, help me to understand Your truth and to hide it in my heart. Lord, show me my errors that I might repent and turn away from the things which would ensnare me. Lord, thank You for guiding me and loving me. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, and Your grace. Amen.
No, this time I hadn’t walked the path of letting go yet.
What are you willing to give?
God’s question centered me at the heart.
My pain was due to my refusal to accept reality.
She doesn’t belong to me.
She never has.
I love our children so deeply, sometimes I cling to them when I shouldn’t.
A memory surfaced.
At a little over a year old I had to grapple with the fear that she might be severely unwell.
In that season I had to learn to let go and give her to who she belongs to: God.
My thoughts turned to Job.
None knows grief like he.
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord .” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 1:21-22 NKJV
“Lord, forgive me. I surrender all to You. Our children, my husband, our lives, everything.“
And the pain subsided.
“Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy of all praise.”
“Thank You for all Your gifts and blessings.”
I don’t know what today holds.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings.
But I do know Who is holding me.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for forgiving me of my selfishness. For my error in claiming something as mine which is actually Yours. Lord, I repent my mistake and my emotions from yesterday. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for helping me see correctly. You alone are the One who owns it all. I trust You with each step and each day. Thank You for again guiding my heart back to resting in You. Thank You for Your love. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
The tea party was lovely and I was so thankful to God for my family.
As the day came to a close, I realized I needed to get by myself and pray.
There had been an underlying something bothering me.
It was an unsettling, almost fidgety emotion, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.
Before the Lord, it became clear.
This fidgety unsettling feeling was simply my old nemesis: fear.
Where did that creep in?!
Yet, I knew it had to be confessed and submitted to the Lord, rather than worried over.
So, I began, with the Lord, unraveling the balled up mess of fear.
One strand at a time, until I came to the center, hurt.
Something I thought was way back in my past and long since dealt with was the center of this.
My heart hurt and I had to confess this hurt and choose again to forgive, to place it in Jesus’s understanding hands, and to ask Him to fill my hurt with healing and love.
Because when I’m full of love for the ones who hurt me, then I’m no longer afraid the hurt will come again.
Crazy thing about this circumstance, I know it was not intended, nor were they ever aware of it.
Sometimes hurt happens, and just like someone accidentally dropping something on my foot, when they dropped something on my heart I can feel the pain and realize it wasn’t on purpose.
I can walk in forgiveness.
Which was the lesson for my evening.
Although, I didn’t really like having to deal with this sin (because fear of any person but God is sin) I was thankful the Lord showed it to me.
When I first began my “Good morning” chat with the Lord, He pointed out another sin.
My feet hadn’t hit the floor, I hadn’t really done more than roll over and greet the Lord, when He unveiled my heart to me.
This time it was discontent.
It didn’t take more than a moment for God to show me my error.
I immediately recognized my need to repent and return to a place of contentment.
Which I did.
My sorrow lingered, after all I don’t like having sin creep into my life.
It’s disgusting, it hinders my walk with the Lord and my family, it’s a cancer which eats away at my relationships.
I truly appreciate God’s mercy and grace in showing me my heart that I might turn away from sin and choose what is right.
How I long for the day when I no longer struggle in the mire of my own sin and can be completely at rest in Christ.
But I would not shorten my time God has given.
That too would be sin.
Instead, I must continue to learn humility before my Lord and my fellow man.
To keep my heart daily before God, that His light of truth and love may hone me.
Although it was uncomfortable, I feel so much peace now.
To look at my sin and repent, to be washed by Jesus’s love and forgiveness is so refreshing and beautiful.
I know Jesus will continue to walk with me into today and I’m so thankful He loves me enough to deal with my sin.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for walking daily with me. Lord, thank You for dealing with both discontentment and fear in my heart. Please help me to place guards in my actions, my attitudes, and my activities that I might not slip back into either of these sins. Lord, if You would have me speak to someone in more detail so they might hold me accountable on these, I am willing. Lord, I want to live with a pure heart, and You alone are the only One who can create that in me. Please continue to polish my heart, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Thank You for all Your love, mercy, grace, and truth! You are incredible! Thank You for forgiving me. I love You, Jesus!
It’s the moment when the words flying out of one person whittles the heart of the other.
Both need forgiveness.
One to give it and another to receive.
It’s the time, for whatever reason, one’s guard is down, and seconds reveal inquity.
Repentance and forgiveness are the answer.
Humbling oneself in the light of the truth.
It’s the way to love and trust, no matter the personal cost. A choice to forgive those around, because they themselves walk in daily forgiveness.
It’s what Jesus gives, every moment of every day.
Will you take it?
It’s a answer which must come from the individual.
When the choice is made, one must realize it’s not the kind of gift which is set in the corner to be forgotten.
With daily contact, one can find both incredible peace in their relationship with God, but also the overwhelming joy of passing it on to others.
We need forgiveness.
We need to forgive.
“Yes, not even becoming a Christian erases our imperfections. We still make mistakes–even dumb mistakes. But, thank God, forgiveness gives us hope.” Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back by Charles R. Swindol
Let us follow the example given by Christ.
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matt. 6:9b-13 emphasis mine
I’ve seen him try so many times to get himself to fit.
But it never happens.
And the crazy thing is his own bed is always nearby.
He can rest comfortably on it, but no.
He keeps working at something that will never happen.
This morning at 2am I was praying.
Not because I wanted to be awake, but because I was wrestling the bed.
As I prayed God spoke.
“Lord, no! I’ve forgiven–”
The Lord only had to mention one word.
I knew instantly.
“Yes, I am still bitter. I’m still hurting and I can’t see around it.”
So, I struggled with forgiving again.
I was frustrated.
“Lord, I’ve done this so many times! I thought it was gone. I thought I’d given it to You. Why has it returned to rob me of my rest and peace?”
You are still hurting.
It was like God tore off a bandage which was simply holding the infection in.
But as I was free to look at myself,
to take stock of the hurt,
I realized where the hurt was coming from.
To see inside oneself through the gifts of God’s discernment is truly humbling and
This isn’t going to be an instant fix.
Bitterness is an invasive disease which sends out runners to every possible point inside a heart.
It links memories and relationships into a web of pain stifling the infected so gradually that it can go unnoticed for a very long time.
And for me to root out those long tendrils of hurting unforgiviness I had to go to the root.
I don’t want to hurt any more.
I can’t change my physical pain, but I’ve been unconsciously trying to protect myself from emotional pain.
The only way to protect myself is something that simply won’t happen.
I’d need to order all the circumstances in my life.
I’d been trying to control things.
I’m not God.
I’m not supposed to try and keep myself safe.
I’m supposed to rest in His Sovereignty.
To leave behind the nonsense which will never work and trust Jesus.
Hurt will come. But I shall heal you.
“Jesus, take every tendril, every shred, every piece of bitterfearhurt and remove it. Thank You for bringing it to my attention. I don’t want to continue to try to control my life, my circumstances, or my family in any way. I want to rest in Your will. I want to trust Your path. I want to be free from the past. Help me…”