So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. Galatians 5:16-17
5. Forgiveness is hard because ~ It doesn’t feel natural.
After teaching on forgiveness, I always give an invitation for women to respond; to indicate publicly that they are ready to follow Jesus in a lifestyle of forgiveness. I encourage them to abdicate their self-imposed right to sit on the throne of judgement and give God back His place as sovereign Ruler. I ask any who are ready to do this to stand and then lift one hand toward heaven and say, “Long Live The King!” Oh, how I wish I could take each of you with me to witness what happens.
The battle begins. Some people do it quickly as God had already prepared their heart through the teaching to desire freedom and the things of the Spirit. But for most, the struggle to respond is evident in their body language. Tears flow, weeping can be heard, and there are tentative beginnings of arms slowly being raised, but then lowered again. Raised/lowered ~ the battle continues. Other than salvation, I believe this is the biggest spiritual war any child of God faces.
I’ve had women tell me, “No matter how hard I try, I just can’t do it. I don’t have it in me to forgive this person.” I assure them that I know this to be true. They do not have it in them. That’s because forgiveness is not natural, it’s supernatural. What’s natural (and of the flesh) is revenge, and how we love to fantasize about it!
When I can’t forgive, I cry out to the God for help. He offers it no matter how great my need may be. His Spirit, inside of me, is ready to equip me for obedience. He infuses me with grace. Yes, it’s a war. Everything in me says that someone has to make them pay, someone needs to make sure things are fair, and if I don’t do it – I fear God won’t. This is the language of the devil and once I know that, I can reject those thoughts and focus on what the Spirit is saying in the Word. His way leads to life and freedom. Satan’s way leads to anger and bondage.
Copying Jesus is impossible. My flesh wants what He doesn’t want. Oh, Father – but living by Spirit is possible because I’m giving You all the power to make it happen. Fill me today with Your desires. Amen