A couple of days ago, something happened that triggered some old feelings of unforgiveness. I completely lost it and started crying, which doesn’t happen often.
Losing it like that made me question my decision to forgive in the first place. I became frustrated with myself for letting something that I’ve already dealt with have that impact on me again.
Ugh. Forgiving is hard, but forgetting is even harder.
I started Lysa TerKeurst’s The Forgiving Journal this week. It’s a companion to her new book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. I was supposed to do a Bible study on it last month, but wasn’t able to. But now I see why. God knew that I would need it this week more than I did last month. God’s timing. It’s always perfect.
I want to share one of the points that she makes about forgiveness in her introduction because it encouraged me.
She writes that forgiveness is a choice, but it’s also a process and healing is a long journey. Did you catch the last part? Healing isn’t instant. It takes time. There will be triggers that remind us of our pain. And that doesn’t mean that our decision to forgive was fake…it just means that there’s more to be done. Forgiving the facts of what happened is done in a moment. But the process of working though all of the emotions from the impact of what happened will take time (Lysa TerKeurst).
I don’t know where you are in your journey to forgive. But I want to encourage you today to take that first step towards forgiveness.
Forgiving someone doesn’t make what they did to you right. But what forgiving does do is set you free. You are causing yourself more anguish and pain by holding on to all the bitterness and pain.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32
I know right now it may seem nearly impossible to forgive. And in our own strength, it sure is. But with God, it is more than possible.
The healing journey will not be easy. And at times it may be a very lonely season, but with God we are never fully alone. We may feel like we are being set aside during those times of loneliness when actually, God is setting us apart for a greater purpose. During those hard times, He is molding you and challenging you so that you may grow more fully into the person that He has created you to be.
Stop holding on. Release your hand and let go.
“Forgiveness is possible. And it’s is good. Your heart is much too beautiful a place for I healed pain. Your soul is much too deserving of new possibilities to stay stuck here. And today is the perfect day to start taking steps on this unexpected, miraculous pathway to healing.” Lysa TerKeurst
This journey has been long and hard. But it’s been rewarding and full of blessings. I’ve been able to see God’s love for me and depend on Him for my significance and acceptance. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean that things will go back to the way they were. It doesn’t mean reconciliation will happen, but I’ve learned that there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason why God isn’t allowing that relationship back into your life. And when you accept that and move forward, you will be able to freely walk right where God has you.
There may be moments when it’s just you and Him. And that’s ok. He wants you to learn to depend on Him like you’ve never done before. He is enough for you and He wants you to believe that for yourself.
He is enough.
In His time, He will bring new relationships and friendships into your life. And you will see that his love for you is indeed unfailing. You will experience His love that reaches to the heavens and His faithfulness that stretches to the sky.
My journey has made such a mark in my life that I decided to make sure I never forget it.
I wanted a constant reminder that I have a choice to extend the olive branch. I have the choice to forgive.
But my olive branch tattoo is also a reminder that like that olive in its natural state, I can be hard and bitter. That olive goes through a process of washing, breaking, grinding, soaking, mixing and pressing. But in the end, it is able to be used for its intended purpose.
We are like that olive. We are hard and bitter and the journey to become the person God created us to be will take time. God washes us of our sins, breaks every chain and soaks us in His Word. The process doesn’t take place overnight. It takes time. But rest assured that even though we are being pressed and broken from all sides, it’s all part of the process. He is refining us and preparing us. It’s all part of His perfect plan.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16-18
This verse reminds me of the song that says, We are pressed but not crushed. Persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroy. We are blessed beyond the curse. For His promise will endure. And His joy will be our strength.
You may feel like you can’t take anymore pain. Rest in Him. Give Him your pain. You will not be crushed or destroyed.
You are not alone in this journey. I’ve been there. I am still going through it. But through it all, God is showing me more of Himself and is my constant comfort and friend. And He can be the same for you.
Forgive, friend. Let go of the bitterness and grudge. Let God work in your life, today.
I love you, friends. And I hope today encourages you and challenges you.