verb \fər-ˈgiv, fȯr-\
: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
It’s a word we as Christians have come to use with flippancy, but do we understand forgiveness, and what it really means?
“Refusing to forgive, whether ourselves or another puts us in direct rebellion against God. – Sheila Walsh
It was July of last year. I was at WIT Alive, serving as a team leader, no less!!! It was the last day of the conference, and Mrs. Speed was talking about bitterness. She said something to the affect of; “is there anyone that you’re bitter against?” [Immediately I thought “no, I’m not bitter against anyone…”] Then she said “is there anyone you’ve written off… [and I was like “what in the world is she talking about?” and she explained…] “someone who, if you saw them stranded on the side of the road, you wouldn’t stop to help.” Ooh. THAT hit a nerve. I was having this argument in my mind; “God, I’d help any of the rest of his family… but him??? That’s just too much.” Soon after that was worship, and EVERY song had to do with God’s grace. It was right there… God WANTED me to grab onto His grace. I could accept that gift, and live, or continue to do what I’d been doing – reject God’s grace and continue to die drinking the poison of bitterness. I could barely sing, and there were times that I couldn’t sing. Tears of joy and thankfulness mingled with tears of regret streamed down my face because of the GREAT patience that God has had with me, and also because I had rejected the gift of grace that God has ready to freely give!!! I’d turned my cup upside down and said “no thank you Lord… I don’t need that, I’ll handle this on my own.”
Since then I’m doing a lot better, but there are still scars, and there always will be. Now I can look at them though, and remember the goodness of the Lord!!! I still hurt sometimes, yes, but I’m no longer bitter. I realize that I MUST be vigilant, because just when I think I stand that’s when I’ll fall (I Corinthians 10:12-13).
So there’s my story of how God is teaching me to forgive. Remember that the enemy has nothing in his arsenal to combat forgiveness. Hope that in some way this is an encouragement to you!