“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“As people, the very walls we construct to protect us through the years are the very walls that imprison us as we get older. They are walls of deceit, walls of omission, walls of cheating, walls of bitterness, walls of unforgiveness, walls of pride, walls of self-reliance, walls of aloofness, walls of anger, walls of absenteeism, and more.” – ME
I wrote those words last week and sent them to someone. Little did I know they would come back to stare me in the face one week later. Last night, unintentionally, I hurt someone. I acted out of fear and anger and said things that are eating me up today. I thought someone’s treatment of me justified what I said to them; I was going to set them straight. Although I already knew it, in the moment, it was so easy to forget that hurting people…hurt people. Even though I want this person to understand what brought me to that point and forgive me, I am not sure if they will and I have to accept that. What is harder is forgiving myself and accepting forgiveness from God because I ignored the Holy Spirit and what He was trying to tell me…show me. Right before I hurt this person with my words, I had just thanked God for my divine appointments of that day and unfortunately didn’t recognize the one that was coming my way yet still. I was on a spiritual high, but even that didn’t prepare me to respond in Christ to a fellow Christian. Instead, I reacted in the flesh, out of anger, hurt, and disappointment. All of which are feelings that didn’t just occur, but have been building for years. My walls.
When I think back on yesterday, my divine appointments and my own personal lesson, each incident has the same theme: forgiveness and healing. I honestly believe that God can heal any wound, but in order to do so, we have to learn to give some things to Him for healing. We have to learn that forgiveness is the ultimate sacrifice. It’s dirty, it’s bloody, it’s hard work, it’s full of grace, and it’s full of mercy, but it cannot be done apart from Him. As I tried to identify a scripture to use in this devotional, I couldn’t. Instead, the only thing I could think about was Christ. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son…” John 3:16 speaks of that forgiveness, that love, that redemption, and that restoration.
Who am I not to forgive, when I want forgiveness? Who am I not to press past my old hurts and operate in forgiveness and faith, instead of operating in fear and bitterness? So much of the hurt we cause others is a response to our own pain; we simply don’t know how to respond. We are imperfect people, expecting and wanting perfection in others. Forgiveness is not only about other people, it’s about us. We have to submit to God and allow God to do what He does… heal and protect us. So, who are you struggling to forgive and what are you struggling to forgive yourself for? Whatever it is, know that it cannot be done apart from God. Nothing we do ever can be and that is what God has been teaching us all along. Apart from Him we are helpless, but in Him we can accomplish anything, even healing…even forgiveness.