forgiveness

I did not mean to treat her differently. I did not mean to change how I saw her or thought of her. Yet, unconsciously, unintentionally, I did.

Hurt marks and scars.
It leaves the victim with wounds that must be faced.

And it was not just her actions. It was my pride and my stubbornness and my own sin.

And isn’t that the clincher?

Isn’t that the thing that makes me want to stand and point my finger hard at the one who has injured me? That my sin is standing there, mocking me?

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the person who has harmed me.  It has everything to do with my own journey and walk with the Creator.

forgiveness

We went for a walk last night up the creek bed. Crawling over rocks and around waterfalls. It was marvelous and beautiful. The way the water swirled warm on my feet. The way our laughter bounced off the rock walls surrounding us.

At one point I stepped over the edge of a small waterfall, slipped and landed flat on my back. I lay there giggling until my husband pulled me to my feet.

It was a beautiful adventure.  One where we lost our footing and fell into each other. Where we had to maneuver around waterfalls and crawl up slippery slopes.  Where feet got stuck between rocks and trees we were leaning on gave way.

The interesting part, though, is that we were marveling the entire time at the beauty of God’s creation. Praising Him for the way He formed the river bottom, with rocks that look like pigs (seriously!) and layered walls and the melody of water.

And the pain we felt from slipping and falling and rocks digging into our feet… it never made us curse the rocks or the water. Because we weren’t wandering through the creek bed aimless and lost. We were walking confidently, taking a few hours from our day to enjoy God’s creation.

Life is all about having relationship with God.
About glorifying Him over all.

When we get lost, when we lose our focus, when we stop using our time and energy to glorify Him? That’s when forgiveness gets harder and harder. That’s when the hurt someone else inflicts, causes us to build walls and anger.

In the book God Callingthe writers say,

Fill your world with love and laughter. Never mind what anguish lies behind you. Let nothing that others do to you alter your treatment of them.

I still remember the first day I read those words, when I was wallowing in unforgiveness and hurt toward this friend. I had built up walls and allowed my focus to stay on the rocks that were tripping up my feet instead of the listening to the melody of the water.

I sat there, with the book open on my lap, and felt my heart squeeze. I had altered treatment. I kept her at arms length. Every time I looked at her, I allowed my mind to build the walls higher with memories of betrayal.

“How, God?” I whispered. How could I not change the way I treated her? It was a protective instinct. A guard from further pain.

In the end, the way was simple. I had to change my focus. When I was focused on glorifying God, the pain of slipping between the rocks was there, of course, but it did not change how I viewed my life:

 I was too busy building a relationship with Christ
to worry about building walls of anger.

Has God taught you any lessons about forgiveness? Do share them! 

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3 thoughts on “forgiveness

  1. Wow! This is amazing! I needed this today. It has been a powerful second witness.
    It sounds so very similar to a chapter I just finished editing in A Memoir of Mercy.
    A man just told his fiancee something she never ever wanted to hear. And this is her reaction, along with how God told her to deal with the pain and forgive her fiancee for causing it.

    “My glass castle was shattered. It lay in ruins around my feet. I hadn’t known I could feel pain this deep as I looked at the pieces. All my childhood hopes and dreams were utterly murdered. In one fell stroke, Ashes had just killed off the last one, the one I had been holding onto with a tight-knuckled grip.
    “Oh, God this hurts!” I wheezed. “Why does it hurt so much?!”
    “Failed expectations.” Something deep inside whispered back to me. “Broken dreams. You’ve built a stronghold of thoughts in your heart and it is being torn down. Let it fall. Only if you let it fall can you be free from the chains it binds you with. I did not put that stronghold there, you did it. Every thought was a stone you built the wall higher with. That wall does not belong there. Let the stronghold fall so that we can build a mighty bridge of love with the pieces. Only when you do that, can you learn true mercy.”
    “How do I let it fall?” I pleaded.
    “You feel the hurt, but then you let it go. Let it flow right on out of you instead of blocking and damming it up. Let it flow out. Feel the pain, but love him anyway. Push on in spite of your pain and reach out towards him. Realize how all this doesn’t change your love for him, it only makes it stronger. It gives you determination. Choose to love. Every time you choose to love instead of withdrawing in hurt, you build a bridge instead of building a wall. It doesn’t mean you don’t hurt, it just means that you use the hurt to better yourself instead of playing the victim to it. Press on! Love! I will help you if you let me. If you let it all go and trust Me. Will you do that?”
    It hurt. It hurt worse than anything I had ever felt before. But I ended up nodding and whispering, “Yes. Please… please help me!”
    I didn’t magically feel better, however, somehow I knew that my prayer had been heard. I clenched my jaw and wiped my face with my hand, then forced my arm to reach out and wrap itself around Ashes’ shoulders.
    He seemed shocked that I was hugging him like that.
    “I thought you’d… hate me.” He whispered.
    I kept my eyes shut. Everything was churning inside me so strongly it made my voice sound rough as I blurted out, “No! I love you! I love you! This doesn’t change that! I still love you!”
    Ash sat there with a surprised expression. I was still crying, I was obviously still hurt. He couldn’t understand.
    “But what about what I told you?” He asked in an incredulous tone.
    Things were getting a little easier. I could breathe now, and open my eyes. Something was whispering my answer deep inside me.
    “That’s… water under the bridge.” I forced myself to say, with a tearful smile. “Just like… everything else.”

    All that right there was something the Lord whispered to me one night when I was going through something very simliar to what this girl went through. It is…so… healing.

    Like

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