This post might be a little toooo truthful, but it is what I am wrestling with lately!
I hate forgiveness!!! Yep, this might sound strange and a tad bit dramatic, but gosh in total honesty some days I really do!!!
Forgiveness. This theme has been running through my life the past few months or years more likely, years. Recently, I was invited to speak at the EverGreen Women's Retreat in February, and guess the requested topic? You got it, FORGIVENESS!!! WHAT are the chances??? Haha, I think God is clearly up to something!!!
Here is where my fight with forgiveness sits today...
I understand we need to forgive. In fact, I want to forgive! I am an advocate for forgiveness!!! Especially when I am the one asking for forgiveness from others... My prayer is that it would be extended QUICKLY!!! WHY wouldn't they forgive me, I AM truly sorry???!!!
However, there are times I simply want to be mad. Some days I feel like I just GET to be mad. Things are not fair, they are not easy, people are difficult, and so many instances, things can feel not right... I want to hold on to my anger, my frustration, and cling tightly to my own strange permission to be as mad as I CAN be!
I want to shout, "I am Soooooo HURT!!!" Not at the actual person... THAT would be embarrassing and I would like people to think I am more mature than that, Haha. But scream that inside my own room... Scream into my pillow... Not loud enough for anyone to actually hear me. I can be mad, just me in my room, alone... (Well, Mason and Milo are great listeners!) As if that does something? Or changes anything?
But I do it, I hold that forgiveness tight. Clutched in my hands!
Why do I feel this way? Maybe it's because I feel like I own the feeling, or I have some sort of control over it. Like riding the Teacups at Disney World... Once you sit down, you can't stop, can't pull back, and can't get off the ride. I get to stay mad. I get to stay hurt. AND I own that feeling... I spin in that feeling. I can't own any other part, but that. So while everything else spins, this feeling is mine. Especially, when we are talking about offering forgiveness to someone that does not ASK for it. Emily mentioned that last week at Bible Study... that is the hardest forgiveness to extend when one does not wait on an apology.
The feeling that every time that person's name is mentioned a little anger rises within you, and more frustration. The feeling that you could just crush what happened to you with your pinky finger because that is how powerful your anger feels. It is a deep down, subtle, strange feeling, but when it comes out... It is obvious. Your chest tightens, and you are more aware of your facial expressions... Not letting anyone see what is REALLY going on inside of you! No one else knows, but you know. You know what they did to you, said to you, and ultimately the pain they have caused you!!!
AND then there is the tugging... the nudge of what IS true and what IS real... it is there where I am STUCK.
I was brushing my teeth the other week, and I was genuinely GRATEFUL for my life! (That has been another theme lately in my life, deep gratitude which I will talk about Wednesday). As I was brushing, a conversation from earlier that day started to replay in my head. We had been talking about how God is showing us ways our heart is not fully His... God started to list a variety of other ways my heart needs repairing... WAYS He is challenging me to be MORE like Him!!! IN attitude, in heart, in spirit... ways that when I had been wounded I would rather wallow in that than forgive... OR replay conversations in my head making sure I said the right thing, and then being upset if I didn't... (Yes, I am a work in progress!!!)
I want my heart to be FULLY His! Fully His in ALL things!
The truth I cling to, in the midst of figuring out how you let pain go, is Sweetly this... Jesus sees us!!!
This summer I was speaking at a Young Life Camp, and on Day 4 when I give the Cross talk I always mention Judas and his relationship with Jesus. It shocks me EVERY time what Judas trades to betray Jesus, and every single time my heart aches for Jesus. As I was speaking this July, I heard the Lord whisper so very clearly to me... "I know what it is like to be betrayed, to be stabbed in the back, to be less than cared for, but my darling dear... IF I can forgive... IF I Can FORGIVE... And it cost me my very life..."
It was clear as day! IF THE GOD of the UNIVERSE CAN FORGIVE... I mean COME On!!! I was speaking out loud, but was having an internal dialogue with Jesus about my own life, my own stupidity.
The nudge is the subtle reminder to be like Jesus. That I am reminded of ALL my God has forgiven me for. Forgiven Freely!!! I am gently reminded to let go. To let it all go. See clinging to this anger gives me a feeling of ownership, but REALLY our God says, "Give me that pain, that anger, that hurt... Let me turn that into joy, forgiveness, love for enemies, and REDEEM what is broken!!!"
See the simple TRUTH of this whole forgiveness deal for me is that God sees it. He SEES us! He knows!!! I mean isn't that the ONE Thing we need... FOR The God of the Universe to SEE OUR PAIN, to know our pain, and to be WITH US in that pain!!! To continue to give my hurt to the Lord, and have him turn that into forgiveness, grace, and mercy. I can't possibly do it on my own. Without the God of the Universe nudging me to wholeness in Him alone.
It is a choice I make daily. To continue to give up the anger, hurt, disappointment, and to rest in the GRACE of Jesus! It might take days, weeks, months, or even years to get to the point where when someone's name is mentioned we don't clutch to our forgiveness as a prize to be won by that person. Instead, daily can we learn to offer it freely to Jesus one courageous step at a time! AND He is in that WITH US!!!
I want to be mad, I get to be mad... Yes, that is my human emotion. But now, I commit to the challenge of seeing the ones that have hurt me the way that Jesus sees them, my roommate and dear friend Audry reminded me of this truth in July. IT IS NOT EASY... and many days I need a re-do, but goodness I want my heart to be freed up to love instead of living in anger! I want my heart to be MORE His and like HIS in ALL things, and that means in the way I see others!!! IN the way I cry to the Lord, and extend open hands of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It makes me more like my God to simply try to love!
"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free." Psalm 118:5
I want the Lord to set me free!
What about you??? How is your heart shaped by forgiveness???
I want to learn... I want to be better at this because I want to forgive the way my God does!!!
So today maybe it is a love/hate relationship with forgiveness!!!!!