Not every bad thing that happens in our lives was done to us on purpose. Yes, there are circumstances where people live in houses of evil with people that purpose to hurt others. But, that's not the case for most of us, no matter how much we think it is. Not if we are being really honest about it.
This past weekend was the weekend where God confronted me with the need to forgive. Really forgive. As we know I'm working toward #faithfulness with God. I thought that I had forgiven all of my past, but I hadn't.
Mark 11:25 says "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you."
Matthew 5:23-24 NIV "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘ Raca ,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."
I meditated on verse 25 of Mark 11 for a great deal on Saturday. When I woke up Sunday morning, I knew that I knew, that I had to write an email to someone I had never forgiven. But, I decided that it was not going to be one of those "bomb" letters that listed all of the things that I had perceived this person had done to wrong me. I just told this person how I had felt growing up, that I didn't understand why they had treated me the way that they had, and then I asked them to forgive me for my behavior from that time forward.
I asked them to forgive the mean and nasty things I had said in the past, the way that I had snubbed them and any effort they had made to be nice to me, for giving up on them, for any way that I hurt them, for poisoning the way my family views them with my rage and unforgiveness, and for being jealous over any relationship that I saw them put an effort in.
You see, forgiveness is not always about us hearing the words "I'm Sorry"...sometimes forgiveness is about saying "I'm Sorry". Every relationship has two sides, just like every story, and every coin. Except for certain circumstances, there is usually never "all victim"/"all bad guy". There is a combination of both on each side. Sometimes, what we perceive as having been attacked, persecuted, or made fun of...was not how the other person intended it at all. Sometimes we are just too sensitive. Perception is tricky thing. Our actions and reactions come out of our perception. What are we hanging onto in our offense that needs to be re-examined under the microscope of honesty and forgiveness?
I am finally on a road of healing with this person from my past (and my future). I have made a decision to forgive. Because, that's what it really boils down to. Choice. I could choose to hang on to the anger I have felt for 40 years, and remain ineffectual in my daily walk with Christ. Or, I can choose to let go of it. This person has forgiven me, and that means a lot. Really, more than I can say. I have been very nasty....very, very nasty in my heart toward this person for longer than I can remember. Oh Jesus, how could you have looked on me and loved me through all of that?? Thank you for your forgiveness. I don't want to be stagnate and ineffectual in my walk anymore. I want to affect lives for Jesus.
What a powerful act forgiveness is. I wonder what is waiting for me on the other side of my obedience?