After many shared at bible study and as we talked among ourselves in different small groups before leaving, I felt the need to re post this but with some revisions or new thoughts I feel God gave me. After all, I’m wide awake at three am with these thoughts running through my head knowing if I don’t get them down they will disappear by the time the sun is up. Anyone who knows me at all knows they are from God because I am don’t like to function at this time. J
It seems the opportunity to be offended or hurt is always being offered up on a silver platter for us to partake of. Satan will never miss an opportunity to use flesh and blood to hurt us. I think God understands the hurt considering how Jesus was betrayed and the offenses he endured. I often like to say, “This is experience talking.” Over the course of time, if you read anything I write or talk with me you will hear the expression along with ‘life isn’t fair’. I said life isn’t fair so many times when my kids were growing up that before I could get the word ‘life’ out of my mouth they would finish the sentence being careful not to let me see them rolling the eyes.
Let me say first, I am thankful for word document when writing because it corrects my grammar and spelling. It perplexed me when it kept telling me the word unforgiveness was misspelled (there it goes again) and it didn’t have a spelling for it. I kept thinking, “But I hear it all the time? How can it not be in the dictionary?” I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box when it comes to grammar but my spelling isn’t bad. I remembered from my English class that ‘un’ meant ‘not’ so unforgiveness would mean not to forgive. Right? This is why I’m up at three am looking in a dictionary. The Webster’s New World Dictionary does not give a definition for the word unforgiveness . It doesn’t exist. It does give a definition for the prefix ‘un’ but let me tell you what it says at the end of that definition. “The list at the bottom of the following pages includes many of the compounds formed with un- (either prefix) that do not have special meanings”. Seventeen pages of compound words, if I counted correctly. Along with the word unforgiveness it list unforgivable, unforgivably, unforgiven (and word document refuses to recognize the word unforgiven, also).
I may have bored you with an English lesson but it occurred to me that if the dictionary and word document does not recognize the word or it does not have a special meaning then we shouldn’t recognize it either. Would it not be great not to have the emotion of an unforgivable spirit? Jesus tried to tell us when he told Peter to forgive 70 times 7. (Matthew 18:21 How often should we forgive someone who continues to hurt us?) I’d like to carry the 70 times 7 in a little different direction. What if the person hasn’t sinned, offended, or hurt you often? What if it is just one time? One horrible, devastating time and you have to face God wondering why He allowed it to happen. (Are you feeling Job’s pain, yet?) What if you have to forgive seventy times seven because it keeps coming up that many times in your thoughts? Not because the person has offended that many times but because Satan keeps bringing it to remembrance that many times. We assist him by not recognizing we are not fighting flesh and blood so we sit down on the thought and dwell. We struggle with an unforgivable spirit knowing full well we are to forgive but are dwelling on the hurt, the whys, the anger.
How about forgiving you? Seventy times seven the guilt enters your mind. Day after day and sometimes moment by moment the guilt takes up residency. My daddy, who worked on death row as a lay chaplain, often said new believers on death row struggled with this. They believed they were forgiven by God but struggled with forgiving themselves. I think many felt it wasn’t fair to the victim’s families who were still suffering for what they had done. Many gave up their appeals in hopes of giving the families some closure. Maybe in the comment box below you can give some insight how you do it. It is one of the hardest things I’ve found to do. I know when I don’t let my Daddy’s love wash over me and forgive myself I’m giving Satan a victory in my life. I am giving him a foothold that will hold me back from fulfilling my purpose here on earth and stealing my peace and joy. It is like slapping my Daddy in the face saying Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough.
Ever shook a spiritual fist at God? I have and what I found out it is a trust issue I have with God. Plain and simple trust issue when I question why he would allow something to happen. I distinctly remember questioning him once and he reminded me by asking who the potter was and who the clay was. John 6:60-71 finds Jesus asking the multitude of disciples if they are offended by his words and when many left he asked the twelve if they wanted to go. Sometimes his words are ‘hard sayings’ but like Peter I have to say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (v.68)
The trust issue is with God and not with who has offended or hurt me. It is something I have to continue to remind myself over and over since the opportunity is always presenting itself and always will.
Below is something I wrote in 2011 and it bears repeating. By the way, as Ronnie can testify there is a streak of stubbornness in me so I’ve decided not to take the word unforgiveness out. I suspect this subject will appear with revisions again. J
I have been giving serious consideration to doing a 21 day fast in January for physical and spiritual purposes. Believe it or not I have so enjoyed the results in the past of things God spoke to me and how I slept and felt so much better.
As I sat this morning reading devotionals and the Word, I thought of one way to feel lighter that so many people never experience. It is forgiveness. So many refuse to give forgiveness because it is the one thing we feel we can control. Many times it isn't a conscious thought; but it is what we do. Only unforgiveness controls us not the other way around. In fact, when we have unforgiveness in our lives, nothing is going right. It hurts us physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and it hurts those we love. It hurts while they stand helpless to help while watching us hang on to the unforgiveness. Let's face it how great is it to be around someone who is grumpy, angry, unhappy, resentful and depressed.
If the sight of someone or the thought of someone or some situation causes all kinds of negative emotions, then there is unforgiveness inside of us. We have to let God heal the pain.
The truth is God established forgiveness for us not for the party who injured us and it is to be unlimited forgiveness. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells Peter he must forgive his brother seventy times seven. Continuous, overflowing, and forever. Do they deserve it? Absolutely not! Should they pay for their actions? Absolutely! Do they deserve what is coming to them? Absolutely! Yet, I am absolutely thankful that God doesn't give to me what I deserve! He only gives me forgiveness and mercy.
One year I was walking up the back steps of my house and anger rose up in me over a situation. I stopped and stomped my foot and said out loud, "I do not want this anger and I refuse it. Devil you are not going to have my life." The anger left and lightness came. Something you might try is what I did when I grew up and God was growing me up. I wrote down all the people who had harm me or people that it hurt me to think about. I then carried my list to the kitchen sink and burned it never to look back again. There is nothing spiritual in doing this but it is a memorial of forgiveness.
If you want to feel lighter and in control and looking forward to 2011, then let go of unforgiveness. Make it a deliberate act and a goal for this New Year; then you can meet people and God with a joyful Happy New Year and mean it!
I can say I have been able to go into many a new year with a light heart because I chose to forgive. It is my prayer you will be able to say the same for the rest of your life.