In conversation with two dear friends yesterday, someone mentioned a family that has moved away. She was reminiscing about them kindly, and then the conversation kind of landed with eyes on me. The only thing I could think to say was, “I confess I harbor lingering bitterness of heart regarding them.” In the safety of good friends, I can be honest.
And honest I must be.
Because with time and distance, I can fool myself into thinking I have forgiven an offense. But when the mention of the names feels like a bandaid ripped off the tender skin of a child’s leg…..well….. anything short of “OUCH!” is hypocrisy.
But I can not stop with this small progress. This is only one step along the way to healing.
Forgiveness is a process. It begins with the obedience of choosing to forgive. In choosing to forgive, I stop reminding everyone of the offense AND I quit informing new people of the situation so they can be brought up to speed about my injured heart. I quit trying to gain supporters to help me justify my wounded responses.
As I am freed from the need to gain support for my “side”, I can take every fresh memory and reminder of the original hurt to the only One who can heal it. As I tell it to Him and ask for His help and LISTEN; I receive healing ointment that cleanses out the infection of bitterness.
Slowly and gradually, His heart replaces mine and I begin to see how He has forgiven ME. For my transgressions, my offenses, my oversights, my ignorance, my iniquity, my willful sins and my shortcomings. As I see Him more clearly, I see myself more clearly. As I meditate on His forgiveness, I am able to see how fragile we all are.
And through His mercy, forgiveness works its healing; softening and tendering a stone cold place in my heart.
Is there someone who’s offense you need to forgive today? Tell it to the One who has forgiven you and does not hold your sins against you. Ask Him to help you through the process and to give you HIS heart for the one who wounded you.
May God bless you with grace to forgive and to receive from Him your forgiveness <3