My sun porch

My sun porch

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Forgiveness can be freeing!

The Scruggs (Click on the name to watch the video)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -- Proverbs 3:5-6

All morning I thought about writing about forgiveness today. As I took my shower, words and sentences about forgiveness were taking shape in my mind. I thought about times I have been forgiven and times I have forgiven someone else. I thought of friends in my life who have forgiven loved ones and moved forward in their relationships. I thought of examples like the Amish community who reached out and forgave the man who killed their children in the school house shooting. Then, I watched today's I am Second video and was amazed that it was about how forgiveness and faith in Jesus saved and rebuilt a broken marriage.

Forgiveness when you have been hurt is so very hard. We naturally want to draw into ourselves and protect our hearts when we have been hurt. It is so much easier to hold on to the hurt and let it build walls around us than it is to let go of the hurt and leave ourselves open to being hurt again. If holding grudges were an Olympic event, some of us would have a mantle full of gold medals!

However, while holding on to hurt and anger is natural for us, letting it go and forgiving is so freeing and lets us move on and have our hearts open to more wonderful and amazing relationships. So, just how do we fight the natural urge to hold on to the hurt and learn to forgive? I believe in my heart that knowing Christ, believing in his forgiving and renewing grace for our sins, and relying on HIS power to forgive is the way to fight our natural tendencies to withhold forgiveness.  How can I know this? Because I have learned to let go and forgive people who have hurt me, and the only way I could have done that is by following Jesus. Jesus said we are to love God and love others, so that's what I try to do every day. 

I'm not saying I let others do whatever they want to me and walk all over me. Jesus stood up for those who were persecuted and I don't believe he wants to see anyone be weak and beaten down. BUT, when someone does hurt me, I ask Jesus to help me see that person through HIS eyes and try to understand WHY they did what they did. When you put yourself in the shoes of someone else, it makes it easier to identify with them and forgive them.

Has someone hurt you? Did a friend betray you? Did a spouse cheat on you? Did someone say something mean or untrue about you? Instead of holding on to that hurt, ask Jesus to help you let it go. Take a look at that person through Jesus' eyes and try to understand them better. You may never understand why they did what they did, but Jesus will help you learn to forgive. It may take time, but you will see and feel the difference in your heart when you let go of the hurt. God can do amazing things in a heart that learns to forgive! Just look at the Scruggs from the video.

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