The desire to forgive is easy. Offering forgiveness, however, requires an act of humility and grace. And, more often than not, forgiveness demands that we die to self.
Yet dying to self is not what we want to do when we are hurt, offended, or wounded by another.
We want to cry, scream, respond, react, pass judgment, and nurse our wounds.
Forgive? Let them off the hook without any consequence? Overlook the offense? "No WAY!"
"Vengeance is MINE," we growl.
Until we feel a light tap on our shoulder and look up to see the face of the Father, a loving, gentle yet resolved face, and hear Him say, "I know you are hurting, daughter. I know this is hard. It may seem like forgiveness means freedom for the offender, but really, it is freedom - for you. You are not responsible for their actions or their response. I ask you to forgive because I want no opportunity for bitterness to plant itself in your heart or your mind, for it will take root and choke out joy and patience and longsuffering. I ask you to forgive, even when the one who offended you never acknowledges, confesses, or seeks forgiveness for sinning against you. And, remember, I am not asking you to do anything I did not ask of My Son. When He stood before His accusers, innocent and without sin, He did not respond. He simply stood in silence. And trusted Me. So now, My daughter, I am asking you to do the same. Dump all of your frustrations and your grievances and your pain on Me, for I can handle the weight of your burdens, and I will give you rest. And once you have rested, when you are refreshed and ready to face a new day, I will place My light-weight yoke upon you and teach you My way. Because My way - is best."
How thankful I am that the Lord does not deal with me the way I deal with others, or myself.
He is a tender, forgiving, gracious, patient Heavenly Father who accepts me as I am, but does not let me stay that way.
He wants the best for me. Not my best. Not the world's best. HIS best.
And the only way I can obtain His best is to SEEK it. PURSUE it. And CLING to it.
But in order to cling to Him, I must let go of whatever I clutch in my grasp.
Desires for vengeance.
Once I do, my hands will be open, empty, and able to hold on for dear life, clinging to the One who knows me best and loves me most ... my Savior and Lord.
And I pray I will never, ever let go.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13
I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. The oyster cannot reject the evil - but it 'covers' it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl!
Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians - so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us, by that which otherwise would have harmed us!
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
- Charles Spurgeon, "Love's Labors"