When I Don’t Want to Forgive

Push-back.

Nothin’-doin’.

No way, no-how.

Alternatively, smooth sailing. As easy as  1-2-3.

The choice is ours.

To forgive another. 

Ouch. I’m sure someone comes to mind for you as it does for me.

A friend.

A colleague.

The parent of your child’s friend.

Even in our own trustworthy circles where offenses ideally, shouldn’t take place, they do, and we may find ourselves needing to extend forgiveness. Perhaps we’re holding a long-standing grudge over a conflict that has gone A-wall and left unresolved. Maybe it’s frustration at the driver who cut you off or the teacher who gave an unfair response to your child at school.

Sometimes I hold on to anger, especially when it is rooted in unfairness, betrayal or inconsideration because honestly, in some strange, crazy way, being steamed feels better than cooling off.  I guess I feel justified, after all, I was wronged! What’s there to forgive? What’s there to feel good about?

Jesus.

He sacrificed His life so I would not have to pay the price for my sins nor suffer through deserving judgment for all the days of my life, including, eternity.

Hanging on to anger is not God’s way. His way is opposite, based on right action, not poor-me, pity-party inaction.

A forgiven sinner forgives others–a truth not always convenient  to be reminded of because that means we have to be accountable and that’s not always easy but yet what the Prince of Peace calls those who have received and accepted His gift of peace and forgiveness to do.  In order to experience full freedom and model Christ-centered behavior as moms and as women, we have to give out in obedience what we have received in acceptance.

Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

It was given to us as quickly as 1-2-3.

God’s act of forgiveness to us by dying on the cross for our sins and mistakes is enough for us to act with the same kind of unselfish love. Even when it’s hard. I have to remind myself that my feelings about the person or situation will just have to catch up with my taking that  step of obedience to forgive and allow the offense to fall wayside not stay afloat in my spirit. I can’t wait for my feelings before I act  because truthfully, I may never act…those feelings may never develop and then I am following myself, not the LORD.

Jesus forgave so why do I have to? asks the child deep down in my spirit. That same one who finds it easier to hold on to anger as if it were melting ice cream that I needed to devour before gone.

We forgive so we can  live and benefit from the affects of forgiveness and be released from the power  that anger, bitterness and resentment holds in our spirits, hearts, minds and relationships.

We forgive to eliminate having divisiveness in our relationships. Jesus died to bring peace between Him and mankind. How can I act any differently? I am His child and that means irritation and anger have no lasting nor permanent place in my heart.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

We forgive to be connected to God, not separated from Him, for it is HE who commands us to forgive others and live a life where our relationships are rooted in love, mercy, calmness and grace.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Not always easy to do. Jesus knows that.  What He endured was surely no picnic nor anything related to easy.

God will deal with all people accordingly and hold each person accountable for their actions.  Let’s leave the judgment of peoples’ hurtful actions to God and the choice to move forward, to us. God will equip and enable us to overcome the sorrow of anger when we invite Him into our angry mess that only He can clean up and restore to a right and beautiful condition.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8) We receive the power to forgive others through Jesus and only Jesus. His power to do so can be in your spirit as quickly as 1-2-3 when you call upon Him.

Who might God be calling you to forgive this week?  Can you make the process as quick as 1-2-3?

 

 

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