“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Forgiving One Another
Breathe. Take a deep breath, and ask God to help you stick with me this week. I guarantee, it will likely be painful and unpleasant at first, but God has big things in store for us when we truly learn to forgive.
For years I would have said, “Of course I forgive others, God says we should, so I do.” Unfortunately, I was very deceived and didn’t recognize all the anger and bitterness I carried.
I grew up hearing stories about that guy in the book of Matthew who was forgiven some huge debt only to turn around and have some poor guy thrown in jail for not repaying a much smaller debt. (Matthew 18:21-35) I always thought, “How horrible of that man! I’m nothing like him!”
In fact, I was exactly like him, without even realizing it. Forgive? It was something I said with my mouth but my mind held on… replayed the hurt… swore never to trust that person….etc. I claimed everything from “they aren’t even sorry” to “I’m protecting myself” as justification for holding a grudge.
Webster’s says that a forgiving person “allows room for error or weakness”. If that doesn’t convict, Webster’s also says someone who forgives will “give up resentment of or claim to requital for” or “grant relief from payment of”. Um, are you needing to take some deep breaths again? Yeah, me too.
Isn’t this the very thing God offers each of us through the gift of salvation? Without His grace and mercy, we would be utterly destroyed. He wipes away our enormous sin debt, and yet we hold a rude remark against a neighbor. Yep, we’re like “that guy”.
Obviously, some of us are dealing with much bigger grievances than rudeness, but there is nothing too big for God’s redemption. In our own strength, we cannot forgive the big stuff (and maybe not even the small stuff), but we’re not supposed to be operating in our own strength.
Maybe you’re like I was and are thinking, “I don’t have a problem forgiving.” Well, I hope you’ll come along for the ride anyway. If nothing else, you will get a chance to solidify the practice of forgiveness before a root of bitterness ever has a chance to take hold. Of course, there could be something hiding under the surface too. Be open to God’s leading. This topic is far too big to tackle in just one week, but we’re going to begin to address it and ask God to do some healing.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
Week 9 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.
For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 2 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m down 0.2 the eighth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.2 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.