Well, today is a beautiful snow day, a winter wonderland for sure. And in my cryogenic state, it’s the perfect time to write a post. And right now I’m on forgiveness.
Life sets us up to be in a continual process of forgiveness. It’s either our need of forgiving another or our need to be forgiven. It’s a living ebb and flow. And as long as we walk this earth, it should be our regular practice. Here’s a snapshot from my own life.
There’s a woman I know who is having a major crisis. She’s wronged me many times, and it appears her life choices are collapsing down upon her. Now, I’ve worked at forgiving her for years, at times daily, but when I heard of her troubles, I immediately begged the Lord to examine my heart. I didn’t want to be responsible for any of her woe. I certainly have held grudges in the past and even have petted bitterness in my life, but when it’s all said and done, I don’t want a bitter root to be seeded in another’s life and become my curse. Whoa! So I went to the Father with an urgency to make sure that I had completely forgiven this woman. Thankfully the Spirit didn’t convict me of any unforgiveness toward her, but I did see so clearly the repercussions of not forgiving.
The consequence of withholding forgiveness is horrific. When we resist the Spirit of Forgiveness, we become the vessel of Satan. If we remain bitter and refuse to forgive, we literally become a conduit of Satan’s own hatred. Satan uses us to deliver his evil assault. It’s a dastardly hook into our very soul to bring about his plans of destruction. The weight of this revelation buckles my knees. I never want to be a vessel of Satan for any reason, and I don’t want his hook of destruction in me.
It makes me burn with a passion to always be a vessel of the Spirit of Forgiveness. The choice is God’s forgiveness or Satan’s destruction. It’s too much to bear to be an ambassador for Satan just to savor our own bitter revenge. The price is just too high! Even if our forgiveness is completely selfishly motivated, we don’t want that on our account!
It’s easy to be lax on forgiveness. I’ve pulled the “I Dream of Jeannie” blink to make an offense go away. But ignoring an offence is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is painful and a deep work of responsibility. It’s having the Lord dredge up all the ache and offense and place it right in your face. He has to tell us what the offense is in the first place because what I may perceive to be the offence might not be at all. You then have to choose to hand it to the Lord. “I give it to You, rather than relishing my hatred!” Forgiveness withdraws my right to revenge, releases my grasp around the neck of my offending party. And that release initially feels like a death, because that’s what it is, but then it brings a freedom and a peace.
As I stated, we all are placed in the way of forgiveness—it’s Life! I just need to be reminded not to get out of those waters. I need that ebb and flow too much to sit on the banks and lick any infected wounds. And the ultimate cost of this indulgence—losing intimacy with Christ.