To continue with my last post, how do I keep a forgiveness journal? In practice, I start by writing down my personal wounds and then listening for how God feels about them. This way my hurt doesn’t lie festering in me like a thorn. It’s easier when I get offenses written down and out of my heart and head.
Lifting the Weight
When I can look at it in print, I might even find that I am offended with something quite different than I first thought. Writing it out is therapeutic to see what’s in the deep corners of my heart and mind. And as I am getting it down, I am listening: What will God say? How will the Spirit move on this situation? Is my offense even real or have I made something out of nothing? The whole process is an invitation for God to come into my heart and life, and it then becomes a very tangible first step toward forgiving.
This is how the Father has led me. I do this on my iPhone, in a journaling program, and I include a picture of the offender. My phone is always with me and that’s just one less thing I have to carry, but any method of journaling would work. The journal of forgiveness has been good for me and for my heart. I am emotionally lighter and less volatile. The process is keeping me current and honest and involved with God’s mind, not just mine.
The Fruit of the Journal
My motivation is relationship with God and staying current in my heart. I don’t want anything to separate me from my God, and offenses are walls and barriers to my relationship with Him.
The fruit of my journal has been vast, from greater intimacy with God to emotional freedom. I’ve had negative and volatile situations literally work themselves out. After taking it to God, He brought resolution and healing to offensive situations even without my direct interaction. This doesn’t mean I can always avoid conflict, but His Way paved through all the landmines is better than my bull-in-a-china-closet. And it has gone from the most minuscule hating of someone’s face on TV to being completely unaffected or involved. In a word, freedom.
Offenses in Our World
In our world of evil, the love of most is growing cold. I believe in part that this is because we’re becoming crushed with offenses that we shrug off rather than forgive. It’s just a breeding ground for the demonic torment of unforgiveness. Keeping close to God and current in my heart with all that offends me has opened the way to loving Him. Remaining current through a forgiveness journal is like living under a blue-skied, crisp fall day rather than sweating beneath a hot muggy summer afternoon. And beyond how it affects my soul, I become a fount of Christ’s forgiveness into a world of unforgiveness.
Offenses are an invitation to be involved with God, not something to be avoided. God is saying, “Face the situation and bring ME into it.” I am an ambassador for Christ, so every situation is an opportunity for me to bring Christ in. I am here for HIM and He wants entrance into my world through me. While He is the Way, I am a door for Him to enter in to this world.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You’ll again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 NIV