Sunday, March 27, 2011

"NOOOO!!! I don't wanna!!!"

My last blog post was about the hurt that comes into our life and how we're invited to climb to the top of the painful hill and leave our hurt at the foot of the cross. I mentioned a situation where I'd felt persecuted and attacked lately, but I’ve also been facing some other circumstances where forgiveness has been really difficult.

This morning, God yelled at me, in church! "Serena, you need to practice forgiveness over these situations!!!" It was as if He was telling me, "I've tried to gently guide you in this direction for weeks and you've not been listening to me."

I was reminded of a song I’ve heard on the radio nearly every time I turn it on for the past several weeks…"7x70" by Chris August. I was reminded of several things I've read lately on forgiveness and several radio programs I've heard on the topic. 

As the Pastor gave the message, I read the following verses along with him…Matthew 6:14-15 and Matthew 18:35.

Forgiveness was being shoved down my throat and I didn't like it.

So many thoughts ran through my mind.  "WHAT?!?!?!? Are you kidding me, God? How am I ever supposed to forgive this kind of attack? Why should I forgive people who have acted like I’ve done something wrong or who blame me? I have forgiven so many people in my life, why can't I just be angry about these issues? Can't you just let me have my feelings, this time?"

"Nope." He whispered to me, more gently this time, "I have forgiven you every day. I forgive you because I love you. Are you bigger than me that you can decide when and who to forgive?"


That's exactly what I've done. I've acted like I'm bigger than God and I've pretended that it's my place to decide when and who to forgive? I've tried to be "judge and jury" and have even considered ways to get even with those who have come against me. In other moments, I've handed over my power and control to the circumstances and allowed it to completely overtake my every thought. I've allowed situations to make me fearful. I've been downright angry!!!

The reality is I'm not God. I'm not the judge or the jury. I don't get to take revenge. I don't get to give-up. I don't get to roll-over. I don’t get to fight and claw my way through life like an angry lion.

Instead, I need to recognize that God will take care of the judgement and whatever lessons need to be learned – and that He’ll start with me, every time. I need to appreciate His willingness to take care of these circumstances and believe in His power and strength over my own. It is not my will…but His.

Being God's daughter doesn't mean that I am above experiencing the circumstance.

Forgiveness. The mere idea of it, honestly, makes me want to throw a massive toddler style temper tantrum, but I have to bow down in obedience. 

If God can send his only son to die for me, I can surely let these things go. I can move forward knowing that God will pull me through the difficulty and that I have no real reason to be angry. It'll all work out. It'll only go so far as God will allow it. It'll be okay.  Surely these things aren't bigger than the sins against me during my childhood, and I've forgiven those several times over.  There's no way these issues are bigger than the sins I've committed against my Heavenly Father and Savior!

Forgiveness isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean that I have to continue to put myself in these situations. It means that I will truly harbor no ill feelings. I will let it go.I will not allow my circumstances turn my focus from God, or the tasks and relationships at hand.  I will offer people forgiveness, over and over and over again, 70x7 times, because that’s exactly what Christ does for me every single day!  Pastor made a good point when he said "By the time you've forgiven them 490 times, the chances are very good you'll be over it." 

It’s really the least I can do, as a Christ-follower.  I will strive to be an example of His sacrifice! I will pray for the strength to forgive and move on, as many times as it takes. 

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