I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. In fact, I truly believe that God has been laying this powerful word on my heart to ponder for about two weeks now. My teenage daughter has a hard time admitting when she is wrong. (She gets this solely from her father. Ha!) She also has a hard time saying that she is sorry. I have tried to point out to her many times that forgiveness has to do with her own heart. And that it is often one of the most freeing, uplifting things that we can do. It’s funny how your own words can come back to haunt you.
We recently had an argument within our family. I wish I could tell you that we handled it calmly, with complete understanding, calm heads and voices, and resolved it in a Biblical manner. But, I am trying to practice transparency and honesty with this blog. It was quite the opposite. Harsh words were exchanged, doors were slammed and resolution was left for another day.
I think God often uses family relationships to teach, refine and refocus. This has truly been the case for me since this unfortunate incident. What I realized is that the right and wrong of the situation at the end of the day really doesn’t matter. But, what does matter are the hearts involved, starting with mine. You see, I have been harboring unforgiveness. I have been justifying my own thoughts and feelings, replaying the fiasco over and over again. Then, I started to realize that I felt horrible inside. And that the more I justified, the more I felt God pressing in on me to repent and to allow Him to handle the situation. And not only was God asking for me to repent; but He was asking me to extend grace; regardless of whether that grace was deserved. He put songs on the radio, scriptures, words in my Bible study, messages from the pulpit, all whispering the same thing to me….it is time to forgive and be forgiven.
So, I did. I gave it all to my Father and asked Him to renew a right spirit within me. And just like that, I felt free, uplifted and my conscience was clear. Grace and love became easier to extend too, imagine that! Why did it take me so long?”
Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.'” (Luke 23:24 NLT) Our Savior pleaded for our forgiveness from the cross. He demonstrated from that excruciating vantage point the importance of forgiving one another. He then gave up His own life for my sins and yours. For my stubbornness and yours. For my pride, and yours. For all of my short comings and yours. He conquered the cross, so that we could stand before our Father, forgiven and redeemed.
I want to be more like Jesus. I want to extend His grace, love and forgiveness more. He placed me here, within this generation to do His work. He wants me to shine bright for Him. Sometimes, we have to get our “self” out of the way.
And sometimes the first step is forgiveness.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)