There is Freedom in Forgiveness
"Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." Colossians 3:13
A couple of years after Dana and I were married someone close to us asked for our help in a big way. Through much prayer and discussion we came to an agreement that we must do all we could to help, even though with our meager beginnings we had nothing of our own to give, so we took a visit to the bank.
To make a long story short and get to the meat of this devotion, in the end this person was not able to pay us back, which for a while put an even bigger burden on our already struggling budget. We were hurt and disappointed. We had gone out of our way to give when we had nothing of our own to give, and from our eyes they took without any regard to our situation. With each passing month I began to harbor ill feelings toward this person. Dana and I both became hardhearted toward them; we even distanced ourselves for many years.
Over time as I grew in my relationship with the Lord I knew there was this wall I couldn't break down between my walk with the Him. There was always an obstacle that I couldn't cross over in having freedom to walk with my Savior. I know the Lord was dealing with me about the unforgiveness I harbored for so long in my life. But so many times I would disregard it, thinking I could just overlook this one thing that stood between us and maybe Christ could too.
I walked around with this heavy load I chose to carry for many years. And when the thoughts would well up inside of me I got mad all over again. Dana and I would talk about it from time to time and we knew we were going to have to forgive to be able to move on and be in full fellowship with God. I was just not certain I could go through with letting this person off the hook (what justice is in that?)
Too many years later we forgave and made things right, and I can't tell you the freedom I had of releasing that and letting it go. When I think back on that time in our lives and all the years wasted being angry over this matter I realized what God did for us during that time.
He meshed Dana and I together so strongly in our marriage through the situation and showed us how when we work together we can make (what we felt) the impossible, possible. God showed me that forgiveness isn't about the person who hurt you (giving them a pass), it is about your freedom to move on with your life. It is a true release for you.
"Forgiveness does not remove the responsibility or consequences that belong to another person; it simply eliminates our involvement in personally seeking retribution as we turn that job back to the Master." -Kristin Armstrong
I promise, the minute you confess God's power over the situation or relationship is the minute that person or circumstance loses power over you. God says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:30) There is power in His Word.
We know how to love only because we have been first loved by Him. His grace flows over us every time He forgives us, so how can we not extend that grace in forgiveness to others who have wronged us?
I so regret the years I chose to harbor all those ill feelings. It was a waste of good time. I gave that situation too much of my joy and I want to encourage you (with God's help) to release any unforgiveness you might be holding in your heart and let it go; be free in Him.
"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:31-32)
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for forgiving me of my sins. And thank You for showing me where I need to forgive others. Shine Your light in my heart so that it may be a beacon for You. May I be eager to always hand over to You what only You can fix. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Happy 33, Dana. ILY