Friday, October 2, 2009

Healing Part II: Forgiveness

When we forgive we are releasing a prisoner…our self!

Hard as it may be, we find that patience and perseverance in the Lord is the only healthy way to ride out the storms (Healing Part I) in life. God has a perfect plan and His perfect Will for our lives is not always apparent. We stray from the path He intends for us, or we are ‘side swiped’ by an event which entangles us in confusion, and devastating pain.

All the self help books in the world will not take the place of God’s Counsel. Ten years of psychotherapy will not achieve what God can achieve in us, in the blink of an eye. He knew a long time ago the place you were going to be tonight. He knew your pain. Pain is not His Will for us, but, since we are not always obedient and operate for our own good, He does it for us. Like a good father; like a good shepherd.

As it goes with the lamb which constantly strays, the Good Shepherd must brake our legs, sometimes, in order to get us back where we belong-- for our own good. The Lord knows exactly what state our soul is in. He knows at what stage of our understanding He can say one word, just one, and we will comprehend exactly what he is telling us. This is where He wants us ultimately and always. A close relationship. Where the Good Father only has to ‘speak once’ and we get it.

Now comes the more difficult part of healing. The pain and suffering we endure is really trivial once it is behind us. It seemed so great at the time, but, barely conjures up a memory. The truly hard road is that of FORGIVENESS, but, we must take it like it or not.

It cannot be a shallow, outwardly gesture. Rather, it must be a process which encompasses our soul until we reach a different realm of understanding. His understanding. We cannot think like God. It is inconceivable to us how the all merciful, all loving Father moves. Part of our process, our journey, must be forgiveness. It is obviously very important to our Father in Heaven, as He will not forgive us, until we have done so ourselves.

That said, it is all part of the whole LOVE thing, in which He is constantly trying to steer us. We are ever so stubborn when it comes to the type of love He wants us to give and receive. If only we would follow His Word, the complete process, and obey the demands of unconditional love.

When we have reached a certain level of understanding in our heart regarding a situation, or a person in our life, the Lord gives us the next step, word, or opens a door, as He knows we can handle it.

I have heard and read many sermons and articles on forgiveness. The two most common misconceptions of evangelistic preachers these days are right out of most secular ‘self-help’ books.

1. Forgiveness does not mean forget

2. Forgiveness is for yourself, not the other person.

I have heard many preachers, for which I have the utmost respect, adamantly pushing these two key issues when it comes to forgiveness.

It is further deception by the enemy to lead the sheep silently to the death, and away from the goodness our Father has in store. It is through our selfishness in most cases we find it impossible to forgive. Sometimes for the smallest things. But, there is oftentimes huge issues, recent or maybe years past. Maybe we don’t even know we hold bitterness for a certain person. We discounted a situation a long time ago; our concept is that it was forgiven, when it was just forgotten, for now. If an issue goes unresolved it lays dormant deep inside us, until such time it is uncontrollably brought out by a memory, or a word spoken, or even a fragrance.

The Lord knows we don’t truly forget, unless we truly forgive. Likewise, if we truly forgive, then we must forget. When He forgives us, it is forgotten as if it never happened. Unlike a criminal court, as a man stands accused of a crime, and his previous crimes may be held in account for his punishment. When we are truly sorry for our sin, and repent, He is faithful to forgive. Thank God for that, RIGHT?!!

No matter how strong the offense (or trespass) which was perpetrated against us, we must be obedient to God’s command to forgive and forget. If we are to hold onto the smallest portion of the incident in our heart, or in our mind, without completely letting it go, then what have we accomplished? It is like undergoing surgery for a tumor, but, deciding to leave just a little bit in there, for old times sake. Why bother with surgery?

The second issue for which I appeal to your charitable nature. Yes, forgiveness is for ourselves, BUT, also for as much as the one who trespassed against us. The process of healing cannot be a clinical, calculated procedure if we are to get it right. Likewise, forgiveness is not a ‘paint-by-numbers’ and reach the end-result experience. We must give up a part of ourselves which is perhaps the most difficult part to surrender. Our pride, or center of being. We must step out of our self, in the same way we would leave our comfort zone to help the needy during the holidays, or run out in the middle of the night to answer the call of a distressed family member.

The one thing we most commonly put aside when we think we have dealt properly with forgiving someone is that person is also a child of God. They are also growing in the way God sees fit. Or, maybe they don’t yet have a relationship with the Lord, but, you are blessing them exponentially by giving of yourself when they most often feel they don’t deserve it. This may drive them to the Lord on their own accord. If we are holding a hard heart, or ill feelings against them, we are not only hurting ourselves, but, we are denying an opportunity to bless them. If you reject that idea, then you haven’t truly forgiven, as you told your self you did.

The whole purpose for the Lord to constantly steer us to the path of charity (which refers to love in the KJV) is so that we might lose that ever damning , overwhelming sense of self, or self centeredness, which keeps us from following all His guidelines for loving one another.

Christ forgives us without conditions. We don’t deserve it--it is by His Grace alone. We want to place limitations and conditions on our forgiveness of others, without grace? Just saying your forgiven without the true heart experience and surrender to God’s charitable ways, is just as meaningful as “I’m sorry” and not meaning it. Don’t waste your time. Also don’t waste your time going to church, as God does not want you to bring Him offerings while you knowingly have an unresolved issue with a brother or sister, or neighbor.

Jesus not only said we were to forgive seventy times seven, but, we were to ‘turn the other cheek’. I know this is hard to do, and we will not always take that path, especially in the heat of the moment, when our feelings have been destroyed by another whom we trusted. We forgive to bless our trespasser as well, whether we like it or not, as it blesses us in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment