I don't know about y'all (forgive the Texas affectation), but it is easy for me to go down that familiar rabbit trail of holding on to all the wrongs that have ever been done to me. We all have past hurts. For me it's a mother's on going addiction, betrayal by friends, men that used me, and most recently, leaving a ministry that was spiritually abusive. Life can be HARD. But God has a way of gently reminding us that He is in control. This time HE used the lovely Julie Westfall to remind me of that truth.
( me holding onto bitterness)
If you missed our MOPs meeting Tuesday we had a video before Julie shared with us. The video featured a couple who struggled with forgiveness, stemming from past infidelities and how they were able to overcome those issues. What struck me most was when the woman featured in the video, Trisha Davis, shared this: "True forgiveness you offer to a person regardless of their response. You win! You let go of bitterness. Every time you choose forgiveness, you choose healing. I'm not going to let this control my life anymore." After hearing this, the Lord showed me that not forgiving is a control issue. I think if I just hold on to this righteous anger I can control the situation so that this person can't hurt me anymore. But forgiveness is letting go and letting God take control. So freeing.
After the video, Julie spoke and it was so encouraging! I just had to--embarrassment be darned--shout out 'Amen' at one point. My favorite part was when Julie shared from Matthew 18. We are called to limitless forgiveness. 7 x 70 times. This is not a mathematical equation, it's a call to ALWAYS forgive. God has it under control! She shared a K-LOVE quote, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die". Wow! It is so true how bitterness and anger only hurts ourselves. As people we want justice and we want fairness, but we have to remember to trust Him. Our God is a god of righteousness.
Let's face it, forgiveness can be hard, but when we start to focus on the things above instead of the things below it gets easier. The Bible states 'the wages of sin is death'. The wages of MY sin is MY eternal death. I do not deserve forgiveness. If Christ died so that I may live eternally with Him in heaven, can't I forgive another for smaller offenses?
"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!
This Easter let's daily ask the Holy Spirit to help us keep our hearts focused on Him and not ourselves, remembering the price Christ paid for us. He is Risen!