it seems that in my life right now, forgiveness is a major theme. i’m doing research on the topic and it’s been brought up several times in my life groups and now in my morning devotionals.
i KNOW that there are people that i have not forgiven for things. i know that. and i know that for one of them, i’ve worked very hard to forgive and the others, i haven’t worked as hard. it’s as though something inside me doesn’t want to forgive them – like i don’t feel that they deserve the effort i’d put into trying to forgive. of course, the hard part is THAT’S THE TRUTH. they DON’T deserve it. they don’t deserve anything. but neither do i.
forgiveness is not something that i need to do so that these people can move on with their lives. they’ve already moved on. i’m the one that is stuck in the past, being hurt over and over again by these people. i like to think that i’m a pretty forgiving person, though it’s evident that i’m not when it comes to serious offenses. i hold and hold and hold onto grudges and anger and hurt and resentment. i think that i know better than God does, thinking that i don’t really need to let it go.
i know that these unforgiveness areas are WONDERFUL footholds for satan. all he has to do is bring up something remotely related and off i go. he’s a pretty smart cookie. i think that i’ve known all of this for a really long time, like, known it in my head, but i don’t know that the knowledge has necessarily made it into my heart and into my actions and emotions. i feel like i’ve been trying to coast on the label of ‘i’m a christian so of course i’m forgiving’ when the truth is not that at all.
i CHOOSE to be a christian, therefore, i CHOOSE to accept the life that comes along with that, the rules, the regulations, everything. that includes forgiving. THAT IS HARD! no one ever chooses to be a christian because it’s easy. who EVER would choose this life if they wanted an easy life? an easier life would be getting to do what i want, when i want, how i want with no consequences because i’m living my life according to my own rules. THAT would be easier, though it may involve much more heartache and things. but in my mind, it would be the life. i don’t have to answer to anyone, i don’t have to account for what i’m doing.
that is NOT the christian life.
life throws stuff at us and as living things, we react, and we jump somewhere. the question is, where are we jumping? are we jumping to where it’s easier, or are we jumping to where we will become better people and better christians? as my pastor said yesterday, are we jumping to comfort or are we jumping to character development? where is it that we want to go?
my instinct, and i’d imagine yours as well, is to jump to where it’s comfortable, jump to where it’s easy, jump to where i don’t have to work. jump toward unforgiveness.
that’s not where God wants me to be jumping, though. God wants me to be jumping toward character development. jumping toward forgiveness, knowing and realizing that it will be a process. a daily process of giving up thoughts, attitudes, and mental actions to Him, to allow Him to change me. i know that i can never forgive these people on my own. i’d never want to. however, the life i’ve chose and continue to choose requires that i do. i can’t move forward until this is gone. i can’t grow and develop if i allow these stumbling blocks to keep me where i am.
so once again, i start the trek back toward forgiveness. once again, i take on the challenge and task of doing this forgiveness thing, giving up thoughts and attitudes, checking my thoughts and attitudes constantly, stopping myself when i start to ruminate and praying for these people. a lot. praying happiness and blessing. i hate it when i have to do that. but, life isn’t about me. at least not the life i’m choosing to live.
… Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32