FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT I GIVE MYSELF
It’s easy for me to believe that if I choose to forgive someone, I am giving them the gift. While that may be true, God wants me to also understand that the first person who benefits from forgiving others is me. If I withhold it, I will suffer long-term. If I extend it, I will benefit long-term. Look at Isaiah’s testimony.
It was good for me to suffer this anguish for you have rescued me from the pit of nothingness and have forgiven all my sins. I will sing His praises with instruments every day of my life in the temple of the Lord. Isaiah 38:16-18
Isaiah describes the existence of one who does not know he is forgiven nor does he extend it. It’s called ‘the pit of nothingness’. It’s that place we tend to go to when we’ve been hurt too badly. We swear that no one will be able to wound us that severely again. We take precautions by shutting our heart away. Thick veneers of cynicism guard us and distrust relegates us to a lonely place. In that pit of nothingness, there is no creativity, no artistry. Before I was able to forgive, the piano lid remained closed and my flutes stayed in the closet. Everything I tried to write sounded hollow in my ears. Praise and worship were absent. That’s because praise and bitterness cannot coexist.
It’s hard to evaluate ourselves and our level of abundant life when we are the ones holding on to bitterness. It feels good and it feels justified. So – let’s look outside ourselves. Can you name 2-3 people who live angry and who rehearse other’s offenses from years back? You probably dread being around them. They infect the environment spiritually. Over the years, their faces became twisted. Frown lines froze in place and now dominate their countenance. I often wonder if all the people they rail against are even aware that they have offended them. Let me ask you, ‘Who is being hurt most by the bitterness?’ The ones who hold on to it, right? If they forgave, imagine the spiritual oppression that would leave them.
God wired us to trust Him to rule wisely over our friends and enemies. The problem comes when faith is required to trust a God we can’t see, who has a plan we don’t understand, and whose timetable is much more relaxed than ours. But peace is promised for the just who will choose to walk by faith.
Jesus, delayed gratification is so difficult when it comes to matters of justice. You waited well and are still waiting for end times. Wait with me. Amen