“But you don’t know what they did to me…”
Forgiveness…just the word itself can trigger a swirl of emotions.
I have heard more sermons than I can remember and read countless books about the topic of forgiveness. For years I did the religious- works- type of forgiving that goes something like this….” the Bible says to forgive, I’m a good little Christian girl so I forgive, all done….it’s over.” THAT NEVER WORKED. No matter how hard I tried, scolded, and berated myself, I could not wave a religious magic wand of forgiveness over the situations that had me bound in chains.
Often guilt and shame are the weapons used by religious folk that breed a false, fake forgiveness that is deceptive, crippling, and in abusive situations, dangerous and life-threatening, but that is a topic for another post about spiritual abuse. What I want to focus on in this post is what forgiveness is and isn’t, how it only comes through the shed blood of Jesus, and how you and I can be free from our past wounds and hurts.
Come and sit at my table of grace, we’ll share our hearts, and encourage one another as we journey step by step to freedom.
Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! Isaiah 1:18
I am always drawn to vintage chippy dishes. I don’t mind the chips and cracks…..they tell a story of imperfect beauty.
Imperfect beauty is the perfect place- setting for a table of grace! At this table, we allow God’s grace to pour over us, He applies healing balm to our hidden scars, He loves away our fears of rejection and abandonment, He stills our striving, and walks us out of the darkness of pretending into the light of His acceptance.
I suffered under the torment of unforgiveness because I didn’t understand why God would tell me to forgive someone who had harmed me, betrayed me, cursed me, lied to me……in my misunderstanding and confusion about forgiveness, I thought it would give that person a free pass, let them off the hook for what they had done or said. Honestly, I wanted them to suffer like I was suffering. I wanted them to pay for what they had done. How about you? Have you had the same thoughts?
When our Heavenly Father tells us to forgive in Scripture, it is for our benefit. He does not want us ruminating on offenses over and over again in our minds because it damages our hearts and soul. It has nothing to do with the other person getting away with their abuse. Forgiveness is what releases us from the people and situations that have hurt us.
Can I relieve you of the burden of thinking that everything about a broken relationship is yours to fix? You are only responsible for your part. The others involved may not desire reconciliation. You can still love and forgive from afar. You are not responsible for their responses or feelings. They are responsible for themselves.
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
Let’s feast on the life-giving nourishment of forgiveness.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8
One of my Jesus sisters from Missouri, Michelle Munn, has prepared a special dish for our feast today. She is genuine, transparent, and has walked her own road of forgiveness. I want you to savor her words with every bite! She’s the cutie brunette on the end:)
Let’s talk about what forgiveness isn’t:
- It is not denying the seriousness of an offense against you. You never have to deny or diminish the offense.
- It does not mean forgetting, condoning, or excusing offenses….in fact, you won’t ever forget it. Forgiveness is never condoning or excusing what was done and forgetting is not a requirement of forgiveness.
- It is not saying you were not hurt by what the other person did. You never have to pretend that what happened was not hurtful.
- It is not necessarily a response to an apology. Sometimes apologies come and forgiveness follows but that is not often how it works.
- It is not neglecting justice. Consequences follow every action. Forgiveness does not mean there will be no consequences.
- It does not equal trust. Forgiveness does not equate to trust. Trust must be built over time after forgiveness is extended.
Let’s talk about what forgiveness is:
- It is letting go of deeply held negative feelings. Surrender those negative, hateful angry feelings to the Lord. They are not giving you justice.
- It is recognizing the pain you suffered without letting it define you. Don’t find your worth in the pain, find your worth in Christ.
- It is releasing the power your offender has over you.
- It is forsaking revenge. Revenge will not make you feel better.
- It is leaving justice in God’s hands. He is a good, good, Father. He is trustworthy and just.
Michelle reminds us of this….”We were saved by the greatest act of mercy the world will ever know, and now our heavenly Father is asking us to share the great mercy we have been shown. He’s asking us to live and operate in His likeness by loving others the way we have been loved”.
Thank you, Michelle, for allowing me to share your words and your heart. You always point the way to Jesus!
How sweet is Your word to my taste— yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103
I’m slicing ya’ll up a generous piece of blessing as we linger over our coffee at our table of grace….
“May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Thank you for joining me at J’s Coffee Café. Your friendship is a precious gift….you are always welcome here.
Shalom, my coffee friends….Shalom.