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!