Forgiveness - offer it, walk in it.
Merry Christmas ... to me?
When shopping for others at Christmas, we always see things we could use, right? 'Maybe I should pick that little sweater up-you know, a Christmas gift to me?' you think. Well, this Morning Briefing describes perhaps the best Christmas present you could give to yourself: learning to forgive, and then doing it.
Forgiveness is a process. See, >I sat across the table as she talked about how she was emotionally injured and terribly hurt over a period of years-years she could not get back.
>Oh, and I listened as another talked about how abusive he still is whenever he gets the chance. >And oh yeah, I saw the look in his eyes when he told how critical she was of his every move; how he had been reduced down to someone he does not really even recognize. Never in a million years would he have thought his life, his marriage would have gone like this.
>Her voice grew tight as she talked about how mean and hurtful her sister has been-how she just can't forgive her for what she has done.
In these various situations, is there a root of bitterness? Seriously? Of course! How could there not be a root of bitterness within, after all that had been said and done?!
Once there is honesty with one's self about bitterness, and that due to un-forgiveness, [even when you have justifiably been hurt] the next question is: are you courageous enough to learn to forgive? Oh, I know, I know-you might still have to see the injurious one, but let's first talk about the forgiveness piece.
Let's call the offender John, for simplicity sake. In prayer, offer John to God.
"Father, you know all about what has gone on... you know the lies, the damage, the heartache. God, I do not want to bear those inside me any longer. So, God, I am giving those over to you. Please, God, take the pain I have felt, the mistrust that has built up inside of me and spilled over into other areas, and has made me guarded with far more people than just John! Set me free, Lord.
Father, I pray for John. For him to conduct himself as he has, he must surely be a wounded man. For him to lie or deal dishonestly with me, means he must be driven by fear; and when it comes to lies about money, perhaps he grapples with greed, or again fear, of not having enough. God, I pray that he will get the help he needs, that you would speak to him and draw him to yourself.
Dear Father, help me do what you have called me to do, and what is the most healthy thing I could do for myself as a result! Here goes--I release him from the bitterness I have for him; I choose to forgive him right now for how he has hurt me - and for how that hurt has manifested itself in so many ways, how it has made me so different than I want to be, different than you intend for me to be.
Lord, extract the root of bitterness from me, replace it with gratitude:
~for your love for me
~for your grace
~for how you have forgiven me!
~for the joy that can replace the bitterness
And Lord, would you forgive me for carrying around un-forgiveness inside of me?
Show me, God, how to walk out a life of grace and forgiveness-to keep no record of wrongs, to be slow to take offense, to look for the good in people, and if they hurt me, to pray for them, try to extend mercy in my disposition toward them.
These things can only be accomplished in me if you do the work inside my heart, Lord. So change me, remind me to think of your goodness, to look around me and thank you for the beauty of your creation-the sky, birds, trees, ocean, and mountains--for love, for freedom... And because you told me to do so, I pray all of this in the powerful name of Jesus,
"forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
If you are willing, fences may be mended with loved ones in time for Christmas! Wow, what a gift!
p.s. To the podcast, I have attached a song "O, God Forgive Us" by for King & Country. Tis unique...interesting...compelling