I’m not normally a #risktaker. Almost every conceived scenario in any given situation can flood my mind. Safe and comfortable is where I like to be.
But…Forgiveness is risky business. And, I have decided it’s worth the risk.
Sometimes I ask myself why. It makes me feel so vulnerable. My heart feels exposed, naked, stripped of the protection unforgiveness offers. When you have been wounded it feels so much safer to be wrapped in the fabric of anger and resentment. As I have worked through some of these tender spots in my own heart, I have uncovered a few things that makes forgiveness seem so chancy and I wonder if you might feel the same way.
We fear we are excusing the offense. I understand. I have felt that way too. If I let you off this hook I have you on, you just might think what you did to me was OK. I don’t want you to EVER forget how you hurt me, let me down or broke my heart. What I am learning is that forgiveness is not about excusing. Forgiveness is about relinquishing my right to get even. You have heard it so many times – it’s more for us than them. We will need someone to extend forgiveness to us one day – I promise.
We fear we will be hurt again. Yep. But forgiveness is really about the past – letting it go. Trust is about the future. People earn trust. They don’t have to earn forgiveness. God didn’t require it of us so we shouldn’t require it of others. It is OK to require someone to prove themselves trustworthy. Let’s remember though, “… (love) Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. (1 Corinthians 13:5 MSG)
We fear being judged by others. Why? Because we have judged others. We have sat in our tidy lives and looked at the messiness of others and decided we knew just how we would handle their issue. And, we will probably be judged for forgiving. I wish I could say it won’t happen. It will. Forgive them. They don’t understand. You didn’t.
Why is forgiveness worth the risk? How did choosing it change me? Let me name a few…
It placed me in a position that reminds me of my continual need for God. Forgiving is a process. When we forgive, we don’t receive a lobotomy. We don’t forget. On some days we must choose it hourly. And, without the Holy Spirit, we will never be able to move past the hurt. Like the old hymn says, “I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee…”
I better understand what “peace that passes understanding” really means. You know those moments of calm, those nights when you can rest and you don’t understand why? There really can be peace in the valley. We can’t explain it but we know God is there and He’s got this.
I became less judgmental. I hope I will never again form an opinion on another person’s circumstance without remembering that I do not have all the details and I don’t really know what I would do because I’m not walking their path.
Take it from this daredevil. Choosing forgiveness will never be easy. It will change you. Are you willing to take the risk?
Lord, can we turn our hurts over to You? Can we trust you to handle the messiness of our lives and heal our brokenness? We need to forgive_______________. Please help us remember that we didn’t earn the forgiveness You freely gave to us and we can’t put a price on the forgiveness we give others. We can’t do this on our own. We want revenge! Help us dear Jesus. You are the expert on forgiving. Empower us to take the risk. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
I am linking up with Suzie Eller of Proverbs 31 Ministries as she explores taking risks in our lives, Barbie Swihart at The Weekend Brew, Jennifer Dukes Lee at Tell His Story and Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday. Join us there…