Don't you just love a holiday? I've got the day off today and it has been much needed. I got caught up on some sleep, did some laundry, ate lunch with a friend, and now I get to write another blog post. I call that a pretty good day. :) I just can't help myself, but today is another post about my weekend. Forgive me, you will probably see at least one more this week about my trip to Memphis. It was just too good not to share!
The theme for the weekend was titled, "Wild God Chase." Beth spoke from Exodus 34:1-9. The meat of that passage was this: "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin." (Exodus 34:6-7)
She touched on each of those topics but the one I want to share with you today is about forgiveness. Beth stated that God is scandalously forgiving. He forgives us for our wickedness that we are prone to do, our rebellion that we mean to do, and our sin, which we are bound to do. It is such a life lesson for us to know that God forgives us of all of our faults, whether we mean to or not, yet we often struggle with forgiving others.
Forgiveness is something that I have had to learn how to do over the years. For me, the thing that pains me the most is hurtful words. When somebody says something ugly to me or about me it is like a sword slashing through my heart. I cry out in agony and I suffer from those words. The wound is so deep and I am uncertain if it will ever fully heal. From the outside, I might look all clean and shiny but on the inside I am black and blue.
Beth spoke about how a girl commented on her blog that often she "fake forgives." We rip the band aid off before the forgiveness has mended the wound. I know I am a host to fake forgiving. The thing that has always bothered me about forgiveness is the fact that I have to forgive but it is hard for me to forget. I struggle with that saying because I know that God releases me from what I did and I am washed clean, but it is so hard for me to do that to others. For instance, when my feelings get hurt, I tend to not forget who hurt my feelings because I don't want them to do it to me again. I am guarded against that person. I usually start to not like that person because they hurt me. I also have these fake conversations in my head of what I really wish I would have said when they said something ugly to me. I just keep hitting rewind and I replay the scenario over and over and over in my head. It absolutely drives me crazy.
Friends, fake forgiving is neither healthy of beneficial to our well being. It does no good. To truly forgive, we have to take time to go through the healing process. Most of the time, the person that was ugly to me in the first place has no idea how deep they really cut me. I guarantee you that person is not losing sleep or having these crazy conversations in her head! I have just recently reached a point in my life where I understand the process of true forgiveness. In order for me to live a joyful, sane life that is not filled with garbage, I must forgive like God forgives me. I must be like Jesus on the cross and say, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34).
I know you have heard this a million times, but we have to pray for our enemies. This is such a testament of your mature life in Christ. When I began to pray for my enemy, the victim side of me began to kick and scream saying "She doesn't deserve your forgiveness! Don't you remember what she did to you? She hurt you so bad and now you are letting her off the hook?" Then, another side of me whispers these words of encouragement "Forgive her. Let it go. Stop letting her words eat you up inside." As I struggled with this wrestling match going on inside of my head, I finally just broke down and stopped fighting. I just prayed for God to show his love to me and to please help me forgive this person for what she did to me. After I did this, I was encompassed with God's peace and love. It is an amazing feeling to know that He is on my side. It was like seeing a rainbow after the storm.
This verse sums up everything, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
Till next time, let your light shine!