Forgiveness, God’s Heart Transplant

When reading my blogs it may seem that I have strayed away from my title, Hope, Vision, Ambition, Completion, but in fact I haven’t at all. In order to complete the vision God has given us for our lives we must overcome several obstacles. Those obstacles can be a variety of things, brokenness, lack of faith, loss of hope, anger towards God or our situations…any of these can create barriers to our success. One thing I have noticed seems to be a common struggle, is unforgiveness. On my Facebook page I find the posts that receive the most attention are related to learning to forgive. So I thought, maybe I need to write on this.

Forgiveness is tricky because it is often confused with excusing what someone has done to us or we believe it is something we do for the other person’s benefit. Many times because we know the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness we hold onto it, not realizing we’re really hurting ourselves. We believe that holding onto our anger protects us from being hurt again. We somehow believe it repays the person for the pain they caused. Truthfully, it just destroys us so much more.

We carry that unforgiveness into other relationships, even with our own children. We may look at a child who reminds us so much of our ex who destroyed us, and find ourselves hostile or distant from an innocent, loving gift from God. Sometimes that gift isn’t our own flesh and blood, and their face reminds us of an indiscretion our current partner had…oooooo now that’s a tough one! No matter what the reason, we carry this bitterness around as a false shield of protection.

Years ago, I heard my Aunt preach on forgiveness. She shared that when someone does something to us that is wrong, its like they have a debt to us. They owe us repayment for the pain they’ve caused. We want restitution and honestly, we deserve it. However, forgiveness means we stamp their debt paid in full. They are completely exonerated from all debt, which means we can not go back to them and ask for payment. Now you might think, why would I pardon them a debt that’s OWED to ME!! It almost seems like doing them a favor. Well because collecting a debt is time-consuming, its persistent and it makes the debtor resentful.

Think about when a bill collector goes after us for late payments? We hate them! We avoid their calls, make excuses, hang up on them, contact credit companies to get it wiped off, anything we can to avoid them. Well when we are going after debts, that’s what we become. Nobody wants to be around us. Because we don’t just try to collect from the original debtor, now we want to go after everybody. We want repayment any way we get it, and as I mentioned earlier, sometimes we target the innocent ones who really do not owe us anything.

Matthew 6:14 says, “For if you forgive people for their reckless and willful sins, letting them go and giving up resentment, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”

Mark 11:25 reads, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop, (leave it, let it go) in order that your Father Who is in Heaven may also forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.”

Now whats important to remember, is the verse following both of these, states that if we DON’T forgive…God won’t forgive us. And we want God’s forgiveness!

Romans 4:7 “Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose inequities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried.

The scriptures ask us to just let it go, as if it is just that simple. Well, it is. Here’s how. Because God is capable of giving us a completely new heart. One that is able to love, forgive, be vulnerable, that is full of joy. God promises us this in His word.

Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them a new heart and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the old stony (unnaturally hardened) heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh. One that is sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.

This scripture hits home for me because about a year ago I was praying and I said to God, “I want a heart that can’t be broken. Why didn’t you make us a heart that was indestructible, like something made of steel?” He said, “If I gave you a heart of steel, nothing could ever get in or out. You would never be able to give or receive love.” So I said, “Ok, then why not one of rubber, that’s softer, can be stretched, but hard to break.” God said, “A rubber heart would make everything bounce right off, the impact of love would be felt but bounced off, it would never remain.” So I thought again, “I said well glass would be pretty but would shatter, and steel and rubber are no good. What we need is a heart that’s soft enough to let love in and out but strong enough to repair itself and heal when hurt or broken.” The Lord said, “That’s exactly what I gave you, a heart of flesh. A heart that has the physical components of healing itself, restoring itself, beats strong, functions well, can be transplanted, replaced, and recover from surgery. I have given you the perfect heart.” I sat in amazement! Wow, God planned it all, down to the very detail.

At times we may feel that he’s given us a breakable heart, but what he’s given us is a heart that is so strong it can recuperate from severe attacks and functions just perfectly for us. Our heart is designed to flow in and out, physically and spiritually. Think of your blood flow as your love flow. It goes in, it comes out, and both are vital to survival. When blood comes into the heart, it takes in oxygen, life, than spreads it to the rest of the body. Our love is just that, it enters our heart becomes oxygenated, and that life filled blood, or love, can be spread to others to keep living, and spreading life. Unforgiveness is like a blockage to that flow. It’s the start of a heart attack, it prevents the flow, which stops life, healing, and restoration. We need our fleshly heart to function as it was intended. It is penetratable but also able to restore itself. It’s what we need.

Let’s pray, repeat this…

Lord I love you, and I ask that you would help me to love myself and others the way you do. Forgive me for not always loving people the way I should. Help me to forgive myslef and others as you have forgiven me. I ask you to give me a new heart that is sensitive and responsive to you. Thank you Lord. Amens

As always thank you for reading, until next time remember you are loved!


3 thoughts on “Forgiveness, God’s Heart Transplant

  1. In 2004 an event occurred in my life which left me with a very deep and painful wound. I spent the following two years wandering in a spiritual wilderness. Though God had not caused this event to happen and He had not been the one who hurt me, He used my time in the wilderness to teach me many valuable lessons. I wrote about this in When Therapy Isn’t Enough.

    Though God taught me many lessons during my time in the wilderness, the most profound lesson he taught me was how to forgive. My healing process moved along in fits and starts. I experienced victories followed by relapses. As this happened repeatedly, I came to understand that God had a very special purpose for this time in my life. … He slowly and convincingly revealed my spirit of unforgiveness to me. I came to see that my life was not characterized by forgiveness, as Jesus wants his followers’ lives to be. Rather, my life was characterized by holding grudges and harboring bitterness, resentment, and a desire for vengeance. Though I knew that forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel message and I had received God’s forgiveness for my sins when I accepted Jesus’s work on the cross, I was not extending forgiveness to others who wronged or hurt me. God showed me that I was not walking out this vital part of the Christian walk. …
    As this realization took root in me, I began to study forgiveness. I came across a definition of forgiveness in Lewis B. Smedes’s book, The Art of Forgiving. That definition is: “Forgiving…is an art, a practical art, maybe the most neglected of all the healing arts. It is the art of healing inner wounds inflicted by other people’s wrongs.” As I continued to study forgiveness, I learned what forgiveness is, and what it is not.
    I learned that forgiveness is:
    • A choice: I don’t have to feel like forgiving someone to forgive him.
    • A free gift given with no strings attached.
    • Surrendering our right to get even.
    • Choosing to keep no record of the wrongs
    • Being merciful
    • Being gracious
    • Letting go of bitterness
    • A heart condition: Forgiveness takes place in the forgiver’s heart. It is intrapersonal, not interpersonal.
    • A permanent condition, a lifelong commitment: I cannot forgive someone and take it back later.
    I learned that forgiveness is not:
    • Forgetting
    • Excusing the wrong that was done
    • Tolerating the wrong that was done
    • Denying the wrong that was done
    • Justifying what was done
    • Pardoning what was done
    • Refusing to take the wrong seriously
    • Pretending that we are not hurt
    • Erasing the need for consequences
    • Quick
    • Easy
    • A magic balm that takes away feelings of hurt and anger

    Though all of the above lessons I learned about forgiveness were important, the three most important ones were:
    1. The choice whether or not to forgive does not depend on the wrongdoer’s attitude or perception of the wrong. I can choose to forgive someone whether or not they see themselves as having done something wrong and whether or not they are sorry.
    2. Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. I can forgive someone and choose not to reenter into a relationship with him/her.
    3. Forgiveness is an essential, nonnegotiable ingredient in the healing of deep wounds. In these instances, forgiving benefits the forgiver far more than the forgiven.

    As I struggled to forgive those who had hurt me, I fought against my desire to get back at them, to make them hurt as much as they had hurt me. During this process, I was comforted by the following words of Lewis B. Smedes in Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve: “Nobody seems to be born with much talent for forgiving. We all need to learn from scratch, and the learning almost always runs against the grain.”
    As I worked on forgiving those who had hurt me, I quickly realized that I could not do it on my own. My desire for vengeance was too strong. I needed God’s help, his power. I began to daily ask God to give me an attitude and lifestyle of forgiveness. I simultaneously made a decision that I was no longer going to allow those individuals to steal my joy. … As I daily prayed this prayer and reiterated my decision, my peace and joy slowly came back and I was finally able to exit the wilderness.

  2. Pingback: Trust, The lack of and its effects on Relationships | RJB Networks

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