If you are visiting today from Beautifully Made – Welcome!
In my guest post on beautifully made, I shared a bit about a family struggle that had left me devastated and broken. I know that many of you can relate. In this broken world we are often devastated by life’s injustice, and many times bouncing back or climbing back into the saddle just isn’t an option.
Through the sometimes years that it takes to heal from a tragedy, our emotions can take us from a place of forgiveness to the heights of rage and anger, all in a matter of seconds. Right now I’m calling those reactions menopause, but back then I called it righteous indignation. I thought that I had a right to be angry, and maybe I did, but the anger was eating me alive. Through all of the rollercoaster ups and downs I realized two very important things:
- God loves me - unconditionally
- No matter what happens in the tragedies of life, because of this love, I was going to be okay.
After this, I began to realize that nothing else mattered. I still felt deeply, had moments of sadness and I even cried – a lot. But when I began my journey of forgiveness - that is when life started to happen again. I wasn’t frozen in time – a specific time, I could move on from the memories that played over and over in my head. I could smile and laugh and love and hope. Most of all it was the hope that lifted me up and kept me going.
But it wasn’t always cream and roses. Forgiveness took a rollercoaster ride with me through the ups and downs, the crying and the screaming. There were days when I just plain didn’t feel like forgiving…and others when I thought I already had and tucked it into bed.
Boy was I wrong!
Peaceful days were very hard to come by then, which should have been my first clue that the journey of forgiveness was not complete. Lack of peace, angry outbursts, and shortened tempers plagued me until I became too tired to put up with the alternate personality that had taken residence in my body. Something had to be done.
So, in order to sort through what was reality and what was a wall that I had fashioned around me, I had to ask myself 10 very sensitive questions that came with equally sensitive answers:
- When I think about the situation or what happened, how does it make me feel?
- When I envision the people involved, do I feel anger or hate, or am I at peace with the image of them?
- How often do I think about what happened?
- Do I still have to interact with the others involved?
- If so, how do I treat them?
- Do I want to reestablish a relationship with any of them, and would this make life easier or more difficult?
- Am I honest with myself about what occurred or have I built a wall of protection, obscuring reality?
- Do I feel like I’m the only one forgiving?
- If I forgive, what then? Does this mean that I’m saying it’s okay?
- And finally…and I feel that this is actually THE most important question:
How does God feel about those I am asked to forgive?
The reason that this last question is so ultimately important is because if you are honest and consider how God really feels about that person, you know that your Father loves them, EACH and EVERYONE of them – UNCONDITIONALLY!!! Love isn’t a suggestion, neither is forgiveness really, it is a command.
Jesus said: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14 NIV
I believe He said this simply to spare us the pain of what keeping this sort of anger and hate within us can cause. Harboring that sort of poison will eat us up and destroy not only our happiness, but also the happiness of the family and friends around us. It is impossible to hold that kind of venom inside and keep it from affecting others.
Ask yourself these questions – and be honest in your replies! Then ask God to help you take steps towards forgiveness, peace and inner healing.Dear Lord, I know that it is your command to forgive. I realize that it is for not only my good but for the good of all around me. I admit that I fail miserably at this sometimes, so I need your help, your strength, your guidance and you love for the times I fail. I desire to be like you; to love unconditionally. May this be my path. Do you know Jesus? His insight is abounding in love! Spend some time getting to know Him - He will change your life!
Soli Deo Gloria!