So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letting It Go

Over a decade ago, I realized that I had been holding on to something I had been hurt by. I thought about it for a while. I didn't feel like forgiving that person right then but I chose to. I asked God to help me feel it but I just didn't. It wasn't a compassionate or loving act. It was a simple act of will. I made a decision to forgive them.

After some time had passed, I heard that the person was pretty ill. When I heard their name, I waited for the rush of anger or bitterness that always accompanied the thought of them. It never came. I felt nothing. And it occurred to me that God had been at work. I didn't hate them anymore. I didn't love them either. I was indifferent. I felt nothing towards them. It was, to be honest, a nice feeling to just not be concerned about it anymore. I thanked God for healing me and went about my business.

But He wasn't done. Later on, I heard that the person was beginning to reap some of the kind of living that they had sown. Things were bad for them. And, suddenly, I felt pity... and compassion. I found myself praying for them. I even offered, though I really, really didn't want to, to go to them if that was what God wanted. My heart had been brought to the tenderness that honors God most by its submission to His will. It was then that I realized that the decision to forgive had taken me from angry hatred to indifference and, finally, to a compassion (if not love) that would drive me to serve them. I learned a valuable lesson during that time.

Or so I thought. I realized last night that I have been holding something against someone else that happened several years ago. I had anger and bitterness, even disgust, towards the person who had hurt me. And finally, I realized it. I am embarrassed to admit that it had begun to bleed into other parts of my life as well. So, I began that process again by making a conscious choice to forgive them and let it go. I am looking forward to finding out where God will take me this time.

One thing I learned last time: forgiveness is never about the person you forgive. It's always about you. As I said, I began to see how my own bitterness toward them had colored every perspective not just my feelings about that person. That person who hurt you may or may not care (or even know) how you feel but you do. And so it affects you alone in truth.

Another thing I've learned is that you almost never feel like forgiving. You simply have to make an intelligent choice to do it. You'll be healed just by that act. And that's what I'm looking forward to.

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