Do you know what they did to me? I was sent down to help them. I loved them and taught them. I only wanted them to have a chance to spend a lifetime with my Father.
I was not greeted with open arms or thanksgiving but with insults and abuse. While I hung on the cross, I never gave up hope. Before I took my last breath, I looked up towards heaven and asked my Father to forgive them. I knew they were a broken people but they were still worth saving.
I tasted death and willing went to hell in their place. On the third day, I triumphantly rose from the grave knowing that because of my sacrifice, generations to come would be saved.
My Father is faithful and willing to forgive anyone that comes in my name and repents. Sadly, there is still something holding them back. It is their refusal to forgive. There is no one who is without fault, yet they expect perfection from each other.
Dear beloved children, I would never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself or that I haven’t given you the ability to do. Please, soften your hearts and forgive each other. Love one another as I love you. I only want you to receive the full blessings that I have sacrificed my life for you to have.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them , for they do not know what they are doing.'” Luke 23:34 NIV
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:39 NIV
Let me get this straight, even though I’ve been abused, lied on, called out of my name and cursed, I’m supposed to let it go and forgive? Not only am I supposed to forgive but I’m expected to pray for them? Do you have any idea how hard it is to find time to pray for myself? What if I pray for them and they never get what they deserve?
Are we sure this isn’t just for pastors to follow? Did Jesus really expect us all to live by this command? Can I just tell them off one good time first? This is too much!
Lord, I’m going to need some serious help. This is going against everything in my flesh but I want to do what you have commanded. I want to forgive and love others as Christ forgives and loves me. But Lord, I’m going to need your strength.
“Bless those who persecute you, bless and not curse.” Romans 12:14 NIV
I’ve been in this prison for twenty-five years. I hate it here. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I used to be happy and friendly. I was never afraid to love. Now, I’m always depressed and suspicious. I can’t show an ounce of weakness. Forget about hope for the future, I’m just trying to survive. It’s all because I decided to hold on to my anger.
Well, today, I’m breaking out. I’m letting the anger go. Instead of cringing every time I see them, I’m going to see them as God sees them. Instead of cursing them, I’m going to bless them. Instead of talking badly about them, I’m going to pray for them.
Enough is enough. There’s no reason for me to remain in this prison of my own making. I’m ready to see the sun again. I want to be free.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 44-45 NIV
I own my anger, it’s all mine. I wear my anger as a badge of honor, boldly displaying it wherever I go. Don’t be fooled. I’ll speak of good things for a while, but if you mention that thing that happened to me ten years ago, I will explode. I’ll let everyone who is willing to listen to me about how I was mistreated. I’ll be so wrapped up in reliving those memories that I won’t notice how people’s eyes glaze over when I ask, “do you know what they did to me.” I won’t even notice when people start to avoid me like the plague. Everyone needs to know what happened. I didn’t do anything wrong. They made me like this.
Wait a minute, let me back up for a minute. I just said that, “they made me like this.” Could it really be that I’ve given the people who hurt me control over my life? Have I allowed them to keep me miserable and miss out on divine relationships and opportunities? You know, I can’t remember the last time I clearly heard from God since I relinquished control. What in the world is wrong with me?
Lord, please, forgive me for the time I’ve wasted holding on to my anger. Help me to let it go. Please, heal my broken heart and help me to forgive those that have hurt me.
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV
Every month, I will be posting inspirational pieces that focus on a different theme. This month’s theme will be forgiveness. Forgiveness, is something that we all have to deal with at some point, whether it’s forgiving someone who has hurt you or if you’re the one that needs the forgiveness. I’ll have a new post for you starting next week so stop by and check it out. Feel free to share your thoughts and struggles on forgiveness as well. See you next week and don’t forget you can get a daily dose of encouragement on Facebook @Balm4theSoul.