Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I promised myself that I would never buy a house that was a “fixer-upper.” I wanted everything fixed before I moved in. But there we were – buying a town house that needed a makeover. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made, and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.
I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!
I often wondered why God didn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that – through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities.
From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit – then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.
Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one.
Pride cries, “Look at what they have done to me. Don’t they realize who I am?” To receive or give forgiveness requires humility.
Some of us have built an entire identity around a hurt. The attention we gain from the wrong we have suffered defines who we are. We cherish the pain and refuse to relinquish it for the sake of forgiveness.
We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. By going through the motions of forgiveness, all we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself, but when the hurt is dealt with and forgiveness is given, the pain is buried dead – and it stays dead.
Forgiveness is spiritual surgery. It exposes old hurts that have never completely healed. Until we yank up the root of bitterness and kill it with forgiveness, we will live with unresolved pain.
Maybe we don’t know how to forgive someone because are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. True forgiveness is a deliberate choice that leads to a chosen attitude. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us. The apostle Paul drives home this truth in his letter to the Colossians.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13, NIV).
Even in his day, Paul had to deal with the unforgiveness of believers. Did you catch that? He was reprimanding the Christians for their inability to forgive. Paul started this church. He had every right to confront these church people – not people who don’t know Jesus!
Nothing has changed since Paul wrote Colossians. Unforgiveness is rampant in our world today and fuels much of the anger we see demonstrated on the street, in our homes and even in our churches.
Emotional pain can cripple our lives unless we deal with it and forgive the hurt. None of us deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift from God.
We need to identify and eliminate the roadblocks to forgiveness so God can set us free, heal our pain, and make us more like Him. Now that is a remodeling job I would welcome.
Father, I praise You for the changes You have made in my life through the power of Your forgiveness. Please help me forgive the people who have hurt me just as You have forgiven me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now it’s Your Turn
Today is the day to make the choice to forgive. Read and memorize 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
More from the Girlfriends
Mary’s MP3 downloadable, The Power of Forgiveness, is the message of God’s power to forgive and God’s plan for unleashing that power in our lives. Get it today!
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Forgiveness brings healing
Amen and Amen!!
When I feel doubtful about being forgiven, I picture Jesus at the top of a hill, I’m trying to climb with a dirty back-pack on my shoulders.
Jesus is just standing there…waiting.
I’m struggling to reach the area where He is, and when I do reach that spot; He reaches for my pack and when I hand it over to Him…that heavy, dirty thing is gone!
Forgiveness. That action usually, starts with forgiving yourself!
Bless you Mary, for this reminder. 1 John 1:9, will become one of my personal verses. Blessings to you, in your continued ministry.
Carol, thank you so much for your comment and painting the beautiful picture of forgiveness for us! It is beautiful and the perfect illustration of how God forgives us and empowers us to forgive others. Blessings!
Yes it does! Praise God!
Mary thank you so much for all you do. I have been following you on GIG for about 5 years now and you have helped me know and get closer to our Lord. You are my favorite!!! God bless you and your family! Can’t thank you enough for your teaching.