imageFor much of my life I have found forgiveness difficult. Oh, not forgiving the silly little stuff, but if I felt I had been wronged or even if I felt someone I love had been wronged, it took me a while. In fact, sometimes a vivid recording of a past hurt plays in the theater of my mind, catching me off guard, hurling me into a pit of vengeful slime. These events catch me off guard and can turn even the best of days sour. I hate the realization that the very image of another’s face can raise such vile thoughts in me, a child of God, forgiven, redeemed, loved.

I hate admitting that I still harbor “ill will” toward anyone.

How could I??

God has forgiven me SO much.

Unforgiveness is incompatible with the character of God.

Unforgiveness is a Sin…against God, against those from whom I withhold forgiveness, and against myself.

My mind becomes a battleground as I struggle to throw off the devil’s blanket of unforgiveness so I can crawl into the light of God’s grace. There exposed to his light I can face the fact that in spite of my best efforts to open myself to God’s examination some issues remain in a dark little closet of my mind. Oh, I don’t fool myself believing I have hidden sins from the Holy Spirit, but sometimes I do manage to bury them so that I don’t have to face my own lack of forgiveness. Unfortunately, nothing that detrimental can remain buried.

I have a choice, continue to withhold forgiveness or forgive. Easier said than done.

And so,

Forgiveness for me requires many conversations with myself and even more with God. I know that forgiveness is not an option for Christians. I know that it liberates the one who forgives more than the one forgiven. I know it all in my head, but there are times my heart, with all the shattered pieces cannot quite see it.

I have learned by the grace and forgiveness of God to bring it all to him. All the broken pieces, the hurts, intended or not, the people who cause me to stiffen my back, all my ugly thoughts….I have learned to bring them to him. He forgives me and I beg him to work though me to forgive the wrongs and to bless others.

He has shown me how to pray for the ones I cannot yet forgive and each day I find myself growing more and more concerned for their well being. He has shown me that my letting go, my forgiveness cannot be withheld just because another does not say, “I am Sorry.” He has shown me that nursing a hurt only makes it fester. He has shown me those to whom I need to say, “I am Sorry.”

Open honest conversation with God and open confession changes my attitude toward those I feel have hurt me or those I love. For one thing I see them whether Christian or not as those for whom Christ died and those who God loves. I continue to struggle with some older hurts, still haven’t quite forgotten the biting words or actions, but God continues to work with me in this very Christian business of FORGIVENESS.

And so today, I thank God for His Forgiveness. I thank him for creating in me a desire to forgive and not retaliate or seek revenge. I am grateful for the forgiveness of others for wrongs I have done. I am thankful for His Gift of Forgiveness that brings reconciliation of relationships and pray that whoever reads this today takes inventory and begins intentionally to converse with God and to forgive others.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)