07 August 2008

Forgiveness ain't about "them"

...it's about me.

Have you ever really thought about forgiveness and what it means in the scheme of things? There have been a few times in my life when God has brought this subject before me as a topic of study and for some reason, it is back in my life again. There must be a lesson I need to (re)learn about forgiveness. In my morning devotions, I am reading a book entitled WALKING WITH JESUS ON THE MOUNT OF BLESSING by George R. Knight. In it, he is dissecting the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7 - literally, verse by verse. And this week, the focus is on the portion of the Lord's Prayer where Jesus teaches that we should pray "Forgive us our debts (sins) AS WE FORGIVE our debtors (those who have sinned against us)." That is powerful when you stop to think about it.


Hmm, I think I might be in trouble here, because I don't know about you, but it ain't always easy to let stuff go. I wish I could forgive others as my Heavenly Father forgives me - throw it into the depths of the ocean - as far away as the east is from the west - never to be brought up again. Uh...yeah. It is a goal to strive for, ain't it? I mean, some things are easy to forgive. It is easy to forgive the idiot driver who cuts you off while you are driving, but what about the friend who betrays a trust? What about a family member who steals from you? Or the pastor who betrays a confidence? What about a spouse who cheats - again and again? Or the child who disrespects you and your teachings? How do you forgive those things and move on?

Obviously, without the help of Jesus, it won't happen. But one thing I have learned over the years: forgiveness is less about them and what they did to me, but more about me and how I react, anyway. As long as I hold onto the hurt feelings, the sense of betrayal, whatever it is that is stopping me for truly forgiving someone - I am the one who is being affected. The person who did me harm has moved on and is living their lives without thinking about me - yet, I am the one mired in the "I cannot believe she did that" and the "what did I ever do to him to make him treat me that way" feelings. But once I forgive them, I am the one who is released, who no longer has to worry about ulcers and high blood pressure. If I TRULY forgive them, then the anger and frustration and hurt disappear and life is good again.

I am glad that God doesn't take as long to forgive me as I take to forgive others. His forgiveness is instanteous - as soon as I ask for it, He does it. AND, He never brings it up again - even when I continue to beat myself up about things I have done, He doesn't. He forgives and forgets. Oh, to be like Him and to treat others as He treats me. That's the goal, isn't it?

Be blessed.

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