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January 2015 January 2015 – In The Wright Direction

Month: January 2015

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14

Let’s be bold enough to be who God created us to be.  There’s only one of you and one of a kinds are much more valuable!

The UGLY truth behind why I didn’t WANT to forgive them

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as
the Lord forgave you.”
  Colossians 3:13

Yep, you read the title correctly… I didn’t want to forgive the person who hurt me.  I thought I did.  In fact, I begged God to help me forgive them and let it go.  I didn’t like the way the bitterness of unforgiveness tasted in my life and I didn’t like the distance that it caused between God and I.  I asked God,

“Why am I having such a hard time healing from this?”

After all, if you read my last post, “Forgiveness isn’t always a one time decision,” you know I thought it should be a piece of cake.  Well let me warn you right now, don’t ever ask God for an answer if you don’t want to hear what He has to say because He will answer you.  My answer came while I was reading my Bible (amazing what you learn when you actually make time for God, huh?).   I thought I was safe because I wasn’t even reading about forgiveness.  I was reading in John chapter 5 about the paralytic by the healing waters of Bethesda.  When Jesus asked the man “do you want to be made well,” it was if He was speaking directly to me.  I thought, “Of course I do, that’s what I’ve been praying for.”

But when I sat still and listened to what God was telling me, I realized I really didn’t want to be healed.  I was like the proverbial monkey that sticks his hand in a small hole to retrieve a piece of fruit and remains trapped because he’s unwilling to release his grip.  I wanted the benefits that come with forgiving someone; a restored relationship with Christ and to be free of that icky feeling that hangs around, but I didn’t want to let go so I remained stuck.  So, then came my next question,

Why won’t I let it go and forgive?

Guess what?  That answer came while I was reading my Bible again a few days later.  This time it was Luke 17:3-5, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.  The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’  I have never noticed the connection between these two verses but God made sure I did that day.  When told they should forgive someone over and over, the apostles said, “Lord, increase our faith.”  We need faith to forgive!

Why wasn’t I trusting God with this situation?

The answer was an ugly one.  I was afraid God would let them get away with how they’d treated me.  They had hurt me and I wanted justice.  I’m not sure what I expect God to do…turn them into a pillar of salt? Smote them?  Cause them to stump their toe in the middle of the night and tell them, “booyah, that was for Kathy?”  I don’t even know what it means to be smoted but it doesn’t sound good at all!  I sure don’t want to be smoted when I mess up but I was perfectly fine with it happening to them.  Told you the truth was ugly.
That ugly truth made me ugly on the inside for a while.  Like I said in my last post, healing took time.  It took allowing God to change me.  I had to focus on the log in my own eye rather than glaring at the other person.  I don’t care much about seeking justice any more.  I’ve realized I’m not a very good judge and I’ve got too much of my own stuff to work on to worry about what God is doing with someone else.  Plus, I finally realized it’s none of my business.  God is good to me.  I’ve been forgiven far more than I could ever deserve. I need every ounce of grace God freely extends my way and so do they.

P.S. – I looked up the word “smote,” and it means to strike or hit hard with the hand, a stick, or other weapon.  And the past tense is “smit,” but I don’t like that as much and since it’s my blog, I’m leaving it as “smoted.”

Forgiveness isn’t always a one time decision…it’s often a process

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

I’ve never thought of myself as being an unforgiving person.  In fact, I’ve forgiven something so horrible I thought any future wrongs would be a piece of cake to forgive.  You know, like once you’ve climbed Everest, walking up the hill at the entrance to your neighborhood shouldn’t be a big deal.

So, why was this particular hill such a big deal?

  1. I was still on the hill.  I’ve learned it’s one thing to forgive a
    past hurt and a whole other story to forgive in the middle of the hurt.
  2. They weren’t sorry.  Not one little bit.  But that’s fine, we forgive because that’s what our Daddy tells us to do. And our Daddy tells us to forgive because that’s what’s best for us.  You’ve heard it, you know it…unforgiveness eats you up but does nothing to the other person.
  3. I may have taken a few (dozen) pity-party stops along the way which made the journey take longer than
    necessary.  I’m learning this is a complete waste of time and the sooner I can put on my big girl undies and
    take God by the hand, the sooner we can get to the good stuff.
  4. I needed time…and that’s okay!  Time truly does heal and with that healing comes perspective.

Growing up, I both loathed and loved my summer camp’s annual climb to the top of a nearby mountain.  The climb was difficult at times and made up of unsure steps and usually a fall or two.  Probably the worst part was not being able to see an end in sight until you emerged at the top of the tree line.  But when you finally made it to the top, you could look back, see how far you’d come and know it was worth it!

Thankfully, this situation ended much the same way.  I was able to forgive and more than that, I grew in the process.  I know it’s hard to believe, but I actually had things I needed to work on and this helped me see that.  Forgiveness isn’t always a one time decision, especially in an ongoing situation.  Sometimes, it’s a process you simply have to take step by step with God until you can look back and know it was worth it.  I would never have chosen to be hurt and never have willingly put myself in an uncomfortable situation but when I look back on how much I’ve grown, I’m almost thankful the person hurt me.  Seriously!

Unfortunately, we are all going to have hills we have to climb, all have hurts to forgive.   But when we do it with God, it’s doable.  It’s true…”God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

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