Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (Colossians 3:13 TLB).
Friend to Friend
I promised myself that I would never buy a house that could be described as a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was — buying a townhouse that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it.
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. We gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!
Honestly, 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.
The Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities while sitting at the bottom of that deep, dark, and slimy pit.
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 gutted my life to build a better one, and a stronger one.
The biggest lesson God taught me was how to forgive myself, so I could then forgive others. Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason that roadblocks can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must commit to identify and remove each roadblock.
Selfishness shouts, “I have been hurt! It is so unfair. I have rights!” What I am really saying is that how I feel about the hurt is more important than forgiving the hurt.
Pride cries, “Look at what they have done to me. Don’t they realize who I am?” To receive or give forgiveness requires humility. God wants us to forgive others the same way He has forgiven us.
“Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 TLB).
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. It is something we cherish and refuse to relinquish for the sake of forgiveness.
We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. We have convinced ourselves that we have forgiven the one who hurt us by going through the motions and saying the right words without really dealing with the pain. In reality, all we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself in our life, 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. We can move, change jobs, change churches, change friends, or even change families, but we will live with unresolved pain until we yank up the root of bitterness and cover it with forgiveness.
Maybe we don’t know how to forgive someone because we are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. It’s not. It is a covenant between God and us.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
True forgiveness is a choice – a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us.
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. Would you 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
What roadblock to forgiveness is present in your life?
How can you eliminate that roadblock?
More from the Girlfriends
Life is so daily. It is sometimes easy to lose hope. Need help? Check out Mary’s new devotion books, Life is So Daily (Volumes 1 and 2). Our prayer is that they will encourage and equip you to face each day with God’s power.
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