Tag Archives: forgiveness

Forgiveness

There is this popular saying, for lack of a better phrase, among the Christian community that God calls us to Love God and Love Others. It’s based on a conversation that Jesus had with Pharisees and teachers of the law over what was the most important of God’s commandments and he responds,

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-39

The “Love your neighbor as yourself” actually comes from a verse in Leviticus.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18

In this verse, loving your neighbor has to do with forgiveness. We extend grace to others because we also extend grace to ourselves. Now, I know on a very personal level that I don’t always extend grace to myself, which is a whole other conversation. But one of the ways we show ourselves love is by extending grace to ourselves. In the same way, that is how we love others.

Forgiveness is hard. I don’t think it’s natural for humans because we are limited in how we see others and how we see situations, whether in the past, present, or future. There are hurts I have received that I can’t possibly see how they could be redeemed, how that person could grow or change.

Not saying that consequences should be ignored or avoided. God uses natural and legal consequences to helps people grow closer to him. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the son still ended up in a pig sty before coming home. Boundaries are still a thing, but forgiveness allows the heart to be freed up from the focus of retribution in order to refocus on the love of God.

But I believe that God is the reason I can forgive others. Not just because he calls me to forgive, but because forgiveness is giving my hurt to God. Only he has the ability to move within the relationship or situation to redeem it in the best way it can be done. He knows how to forgive better than we ever will.

And God’s forgiveness is pretty vast. In Psalms it is described as this.

as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:12

This is what he calls us to do in Colossians 3.

Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

To forgive in the same way God forgives us.

To remove the transgressions from us, not suppress them, but not let that pain and hurt dwell in our hearts where God’s love should reside. Allowing God to work in the nooks and crannies to release us from our anger and our bitterness.

Ultimately, we do not have the capacity to love or forgive the way God does. Not on our own. Not without the strength and direction of the Spirit. Just like everything else, I don’t have to forgive alone. Forgiveness gives the control of your hurt to the safe hands of God. Only he knows the true path to redemption and healing.

Letting Go

I love my husband. You guys don’t even know half of the amazing things this man has done for me through the course of our courtship and marriage, but especially in the last two months. We have become so much closer over the last year than we ever had before, and I’m so grateful for that.

The reason I’m grateful for it is because God is the one that has given this man and this relationship to me. I don’t deserve it on my own. Before Michael, I made a lot of bad decisions in the romantic area of my life. I was manipulative. I used and was used by guys. I took pride in not crossing a particular physical boundary, but my behavior still led me to do things that didn’t honor God, myself or my future husband. I had to hit rock bottom to finally pry the fingers off my dating life and give it over to God. God took it and gave me Michael. I am eternally grateful for that.

People are sometimes shocked to know who I was before Michael. It would be easy to hide that part of me away, especially since we moved to a place where no one knew us after we got married. Our marriage would still be a great story, but it would be missing parts of the vibrant colors of a powerful God working through flawed humans to create something beautiful. Telling the whole story also allows others who may not have made the best choices in their own life know that there is redemption and hope for them as well.

Sometimes we communicate a different road to redemption and hope. We think if we follow all the rules, then we will have strong marriages and successful families. If we don’t have these things, then it must be something that we have done, and we are being punished for it. Also, if we do mess up, we try to overcompensate, hoping that we do enough right things to avoid punishment for our wrongs. What are we communicating to the rest of the world? The worldly success of our life does not dictate our holiness. And doing everything “right” does not control the path of our journey.

We need to be responsible with our choices, words and actions. But responsibility and control are two separate things, and I think that’s where we get caught up. My miscarriages are not punishments. They are reminders that I am not in control. They are opportunities for me to lean on a God who is in control, a God who loves me and grieves with me.

It is my responsibility to be obedient to God. It is my responsibility to honor my marriage and to take care of the things given to me on this earth. But that doesn’t mean I have any control over the things in my care. It’s such a scary thought to know that I don’t have control. But that is where trust comes in. Trust that God has got this. He knows what is best for me, and His plan is greater than anything I could imagine.

God has a plan for my life, a plan that is already in motion. I see the places where he has taken my flawed, selfish messes and turned them into something wonderful. Because of this, I know that there are some pretty amazing things in store for me and for my family. So, I’m giving my desires for my family up to God, along with the messes and frustrations and failures. And I can’t wait to see the beautiful masterpiece God will unfold.