“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Well, this isn’t exactly what the woman said to me, but it sure sounded that way. Worst of all, this wasn’t the first time she excluded me and, as I’d learn later that day, it wouldn’t be the last, either.
Grr. When I got home, I thought, “I hate that lady.”
Certainly, my mind wanted to carry on with horrible thoughts about her…and why she acts rude…and how she must be an unhappy person…and that she is thoughtless and careless, but…God.
God stopped me. He stopped me from condemning this woman in my mind.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John, 3:17 NIV).
This verse gets me to thinking…if Jesus came — not to condemn, but to save, shouldn’t I come that way too? What would it look like for me to save my judgment so I could love, rather than hate?
If Jesus came to save me, not holding me to every past mistake, shouldn’t I also consider forgiving this passive-aggressive woman too?
If Jesus saved me from insecurity, shouldn’t I let go of her insecurity and actually pray for her?
Doing this was going to be hard: either the Word of God would take hold of my heart or bitterness and anger would. What would I do? Certainly, I didn’t want a bitter root to grow within me. The only person that hurts is me.
I decided to forgive her.
Why? Because she who has been forgiven of much loves much. . .
Isn’t that what Jesus said about the woman who anointed His feet at Simon the Pharisee’s dinner party? “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47 NIV).
When I read those words, I realize that I am the “her” in “her many sins have been forgiven.” Therefore, I am the “her” who should be showing great love.
I’ve been insecure – and God chose to love and stick with me.
I’ve made mistakes — and God chose to teach me along the way and grow me.
I’ve wanted to take things out on others – and God still wants me.
In so many ways, I am this woman too. Yet, looking back, it wasn’t the condemnation or unforgiveness that changed me – it was grace and love of God that transformed me.I want to extend love to her the same way Jesus did, to me.If I’ve learned one thing over my short life, it is this: We are most free, when we are free of anger, bitterness, jealousy and/or resentment. Why? Because we can love wholeheartedly. When we clear out ungodly emotions we make room for God’s goodness, hope, and restoration to move in. We want to minister from a pure heart, rather than an angry one.
It’s not easy; I know. It is a humbling experience to let go and to let God, but at the same time, it is exponentially worth it emotionally and spiritually.
Who have you been judging, accusing or condemning? Who might you need to stop hating so you can start loving them from the heart of God?
Father, I do feel hurt. I do not like the way I have been treated. It feels unfair and not right. I ask You to help me to love those who have hurt me. I ask You to ready me to forgive, even when it feels hard. Will You hold my hand through this process?
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Acknowledge your pain. Bring it to God. Ask for his grace to forgive.
Now that you have forgiven, how can you proceed forward in a new way?
What has it meant to you when others have forgiven you for something you have done wrong?
More from the Girlfriends
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