“When you are praying and remember that you are angry with another person about something, forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
It’s making me squirm in my chair, this idea of total forgiveness ….
People talk loudly around me as I sip coffee at a restaurant and read Jesus’ words in my bible that rock me to the core. I wonder to myself, “Can these people hear the secret welling up in my throat? I’m a Christian and I don’t know how to forgive” …..
I instinctively put my hand over the page to hide the words. I feel exposed …..
I’ve walked with God for only three years, but I’m still struggling to get over past hurts. My relationships are suffering, and the same personal issues keep rising up in my life, mostly my trauma issues. But lately, forgiveness seems to be the word of the day. And lately, I’ve realized I haven’t really shown mercy to those who have injured me, not completely. Sometimes, forgiveness does not come naturally for me yet ……
I thought it would be easier to love others like my Father in Heaven. But today, forgiveness feels strange, uncomfortable and radical, like the sun blazing hot on me through the cold cafe window ….
Forgiveness is heat and exposure, my heart laid bare in front of God. It feels just like surgery. I’m having to admit I’ve become angry and bitter at being told I must forgive …
There have been times lately when forgiveness feels nearly impossible because my heart is bound up tightly like a kid’s knotted shoelaces. I have pitted myself against others and fought hard for my own rights. I’ve justified myself under the cloak of righteousness and called it love. Slowly, I’m realizing I cannot change people. I am the only problem I can fix …..
The capacity to forgive means we are wholly reliant on these open hearts of ours walking around, alive and resurrected in Christ. Beating, open, raw. Forgiving, letting be, letting go ……
To forgive is to be transformed completely and never bring up a fault again — no matter what it is. We are to pray and want the best for the one who has injured us. This is unsettling because it feels impossible. Even after I forgive, anger tries to sneak in again and again …..
Forgiveness feels like letting people off the hook. Releasing our vise grip on “I told you so” and “You hurt me.” Without forgiveness, our hearts become hard as stone, petrified wood, rotting slower than time …..
Today’s scripture verse reminds us feelings cannot be trusted, but God’s mercy can. It’s not easy, this everyday surrendering of ourselves. We must keep our hearts open to be reworked day after day, sometimes even moment by moment …..
When past hurts rise up and our spiritual lives grow cold, it’s time to bare our hearts to our Heavenly Father, who changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. He is faithful to fill us with grace as many times as we need. On repeat. Forever and ever …..
We don’t have to be cold, dead wood. We can be heat and life to this world like God. He is constantly reminding us of places we need to let mercy in. He lays our hearts bare at the table, and we experience the great undoing, recalibrating work of grace. We forgive so we will be forgiven. Totally …..
“And do not be conformed to this world (any longer with its superficial values and customs), but be transformed and progressively changed (as you mature spiritually) by the renewing of your mind (focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His plan and purpose for you).” (Romans 12:2) AMP
How much we forgive others determines the amount of God’s power we experience in our spiritual lives. That power is the only thing that can empower us to forgive others when we are simply beyond broken and forgiving seems impossible …..
In closing, a part of that power is the renewing of our minds. That transforming power is in and of the indwelt Holy Ghost. Through His power (Acts 1:8), you have the capability to do the impossible ….
Don’t lose hope if you aren’t feeling it — just pray and thank God; because even in your most broken place — God is right there. He loves you right there just as you are in that precise moment …..
Father, there are certain things that have happened to me, even recently, that have been so painful that I am finding it quite difficult to forgive others — and yet I know that this is Your will for each one of Your children –knowing that forgiving others in our hearts has a beautiful secondary function, of opening up our hearts and lives to Your warming love and perfect peace.
Lord I want to forgive others, but there seems to be a sort of blockage that is causing me to hold fast to my anger and hurt. Please Father God, in Your goodness and grace, would You please help me to forgive fully, freely and forever so that I may be released from this sharp pain of unforgiveness, which seems to be holding my heart in an icy, iron grip …..
Lord You have promised in Your word that Your grace is sufficient for every trial and each difficulty in life and I trust that this means that Your grace is sufficient to bring me to that point of genuine and gracious forgiveness. And so I cast this unforgiveness at Your feet and pray that You would forgive me for holding onto my unforgiving heart for so long — knowing that in Christ Jesus You have forgiven me so much. Thank You Lord for dying on the cross for me and for forgiving all my sins. I thank You that Your grace is sufficient for me, and it is in Jesus name I pray, Amen ….