Jesus put it to us plainly saying, “In this world we will have trouble …” So, when days get dicey, it really should not take us by surprise.
We all know challenge, hardship and disappointment. While not fun to walk through, these circumstances are great for growth. But what about the really, really hard times? The gut punches. The life-altering, made-for-the-movies moments. How do we get past these?
These moments are opportunities to witness God’s faithfulness, attention to detail and willingness to be involved in every area of our lives IF we allow Him. We can surrender our circumstances to the Lord. We can force ourselves to feel and work through the pain. We can seek counsel. We can turn to the truths found in the Word. We can forgive.
I get it. Forgiveness is hard, but we are called to do it. Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV) says,
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Forgiveness can be a process, other times a quick simple choice – yet always powerful, transformational and for our good.
All that said, I must flip the importance of forgiveness on its head and share the following …
Over the last decade, while traveling along my own road to redemption, the Lord led me in an unexpected direction. He started showing me that I was not doing a very good job at recognizing my own wrongdoings. I was too focused on others’ transgressions and all of the ways I had been wronged.
My actions during an argument with my husband or an unpleasant encounter with my kids was always justified in my mind. When mad, crabby, tired or trying hard just to hang on – I rarely stopped to evaluate what I was doing or saying and how it might be impacting others.
Proverbs 18:21 (ESV), warms me, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” In short, words can speak life or they can speak death. They can build-up or tear-down.
I started to slowly see and understand that I was doing and saying things that were undoubtedly causing others hurt and pain. My actions were mine to own, no longer justified reactions to others. The Lord was chipping away at my heart and my mind. He was lovingly letting me know that I too was at fault – and sometimes, solely to blame.
It was during this process that I learned how to utter the two words that seemed so hard to form in my mouth – “I’m Sorry!”
And, as time went on, I learned how to take it a step further and ask for forgiveness.
It is not easy. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for me to come to my senses. But, recognizing when I am wrong and asking for forgiveness is a priority for me.
Truth be told, “I’m sorry,” has and continues to keep my marriage intact. We are both committed to taking responsibility for our actions and speaking the words that need to be said. It leads to reconciliation and enables us to let go and move on. Believe me, we spent YEARS, in a “cycle of crazy” – the counselor’s words – not my own. I have learned that when you do not resolve heated emotions and hurts, they come bubbling back to the surface. A fight over doing the dishes can quickly take you back to that “one time” back in 2004.
We have to break the chains that bind us. Forgive and ask to be forgiven.
During this ongoing awakening process, it was also revealed to me that I wasn’t really going to the Father to tell him I was sorry and ask for His forgiveness as I should.
Sure, I asked the Lord to please forgive me for my sins regularly. BUT, I wasn’t taking the time to thoroughly examine myself.
The Lord has shown me how to be more specific when seeking forgiving for my sins. He’s taught me to be still, listen and allow Him to speak and reveal. And, I’ve learned how to humble myself before Him and truly repent.
I still have a long way to go. I am, and always will be, a work in progress.
With each new day, comes new areas of opportunity for my life – and yours too!
Seek Him. Serve Him.
Forgive and ask for Forgiveness.