Thursday, September 8, 2011

Freedom with Forgiveness

Poppa God can't bless us or Help us if we don't forgive. Forgiveness is required. It's not a feeling, it's a choice. We forgive because He first forgave us. Forgiveness leads to blessing. Forgiveness leads to growth and putting on the character of Jesus. Forgiveness honors Jesus for the ultimate sacrifice He gave to us when He died on the cross. It's saying "Thank You" for paying our penalty even though we didn't deserve it. If we don't forgive, I feel strongly that it's an insult and even a slap in the face to our God. We fool ourselves into thinking we won the situation with the person whom we have had conflict with. We often feel it's justified, that we should not give the pleasure of letting this human being who hurt us get away with what they have done. We feel deeply that if we don't forgive them that we are somehow punishing them, but I assure you, God has a better way of bringing vindication. He has a bigger perspective how things should be. All mankind reaps what they sow. Hurting people hurt others. Their selfish actions that are harmful, along with heart shredding words spoken against us, are often from a wounded soul who's been damaged. They're strangely numb to the pain of others around them. The hurting of those putting up walls of protection around themselves is an endless crazy cycle in which forgiveness has not been given an opportunity. Somehow, the enemy of our mind convinces us that if we let go of the offense, we have lost, that we are weak, that we must defend ourselves, but the solemn truth is that we cause ourselves to lose even more -so much more than the pain, more than the tears, more then the cutting words someone spoke against us. We lose our freedom. Forgiveness opens wide the door to love of humanity. Jesus says to turn the other cheek. I believe He meant in the face of insults. Let them go and move on. Extend grace, because we all know that we are indeed in need of this ourselves. Lack of forgiveness shuts us down into a single, small prisoner's cell. It becomes shackles on our heart, and weighs us down to our useless thoughts. It sucks away the energy of life that could so be used for something better, like loving, living, and laughing. Lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness, and bitterness truly is a death sentence. It poisons our minds, it drains love out of our relationships, marriages, friendships and even our intimate relationship with God. Its poison is also contagious -its vapors like a gas swirl around and hit others around us. Unkind words and gossip, slander against others' character and reputation are always a side effect of refusing to forgive. I read this saying once: "Lack of forgiveness is like a dead rat in the attic, it stinks up the whole house." So completely true! The lined up dominoes of consequences hit one another, crashing down one by one. Divorces, broken homes, dreams unfulfilled, churches split apart, societies with crime and government issues...these are all impacted and caused by the single act of not choosing to forgive another. Wow. Wow. Wow. Is what I say when I really think about it. That kind of responsibility, I would not want on my shoulders when I stand before my Lord someday, so I choose forgiveness. It might not be easy. I might not feel it when I make the choice. I may still feel the pain and hurt of the one who injured me. I may still walk through the heartache, but I know that with time those feelings will fade, and I will be walking with the peace having grown, having become stronger and more full of love, which will be my treasured and eternal reward.

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