“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Matt. 6:14
Forgiveness. After hearing many sermons over the years and after reading many books on the topic, I believe it should be clear what forgiveness is. The mandate, however, is to just do it. “Forgive and forget.” But having lived through multiple messy betrayals in my life, I discovered that it’s not as cut and dry as often portrayed. Nor is it instantaneous if the hurt is deep and the relationships are ongoing.
God took me on a 5 month journey of forgiveness and it was mostly new territory. I learned what forgiveness is, what it isn’t, and why it’s so hard to do. There were many roadblocks and I found little help in working through them. (Oh, but the Holy Spirit led me safely through uncharted territory.) This series will give me the opportunity to share my own journey through anger, injustice, and then trust and active submission to the sovereignty of God. I can promise you that the devotionals to follow will not contain well worn cliches. I offer nothing that I have not first tried for myself.
There was a day in early May, 1997, that God made it clear through an older woman speaking into my life, that I had not forgiven someone who deeply hurt me over a period of 22 years. I was devastated and went to God about it. I believe I heard Him speak to me deep in my spirit. “Let me show you what you’ve done, Christine. You’ve climbed the steps to the throne, looked right at me and said ~ ‘I want your seat please.’ You put my crown on your head and declared yourself qualified and capable to play judge and jury over the people who hurt you. You will decide when they’re sorry. You will decide when they deserve your pardon. You will decide how long to make them pay. But know this ~ I want my seat back. I made you to be a much loved daughter in my kingdom, not a judge. That’s my job. Put the people who hurt you into my hands and leave them there. I rule righteously and you can trust me.”
That was the beginning of my many discoveries about myself and about my King. I learned that forgiving is not letting someone off the hook. It’s taking them off my hook and putting them on God’s hook. Because He is holy, is not that the best place for them to be? Ah yes. And here’s the thing. No child is meant to wear a crown.
Lord, I pray for each person who is reading this. So many are eaten up with the sense of injustice. Lead each of them safely through these next many days. Give them freedom. Help them trust you enough to give You your rightful seat back. Amen