“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.”