Growing up a twin has always made me feel as if forgiveness came naturally for me. My mom practically made me and my brother do everything together so it was hard to stay mad at him for any long period of time. The feeling of having entertainment out weighed the feel of not having it so I often dismissed wrong doings and wrong sayings on that basis alone.
As I got older I believed I adapted the same mentality when it came to friends and other family members. I would often get past anything done or said and typically would act like it never happened in the first place to keep peace and for me that was my definition of forgiveness. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that wasn’t necessarily the type of forgiveness God had in mind for me to have.
Recently I have been drawn to a bunch of Youtube ministry videos on forgiveness. I credit the Holy Spirit of course because He always knows exactly what I need to see and hear in order for me to realize my inequities. It’s what I pray for quite often so I’m thankful for it. But did God have to come for my complete life tho???
As I went through the videos on forgiveness I felt content in the way I approach forgiving and I can only assume God knew I wasn’t getting the lesson I needed to receive because when I stumbled across a video by Jerry Flowers I was undone. It is in this video where I learned that deciding to forget about a hurtful situation is not forgiving. I learned that if hearing the name of the person that wronged you makes you cringe, roll your eyes, or think about telling the story of their wrong doing, or even thinking negative thoughts then I haven’t forgiven anything and that I am still holding hurt in my heart.
Then it really hit me as to why I was being guided to all these videos…
Recently there was a situation at the local church I attend that really bothered me. Usually after the church service I volunteer for 30 minutes before I go home but since the pandemic I have been watching the services online and coming to church at my volunteer time. That way I’m not around a group of people for too long but still doing the work I want to do for God’s Kingdom. For this particular Sunday, I was told we were going to meet at 12:15 so that is the time I arrived. As I walk in, however, I see the team is already meeting so I try to quietly join and the guy speaking calls me out and makes a joke about me being late in front of everyone. Of course he got his laughs and had the nerve to want to fist bump me like it was okay.
Now the old me would have gone off, read him for fifth, and defended myself, however, I remembered I am renewed in Christ so with hesitation I gave him a fist bump back and a little chuckle. But of course the negative thoughts started flowing. I was thinking of how I was actually on time and that they had just started early. I also thought of how I was the only one there when none of them were the two weeks prior because our main leaders were sick due to Covid. I wanted to call them out for only being there because our leaders are there to hold them accountable. I then remembered it didn’t matter what he thought because God knew the situation and how I showed up when no one else did so I will let Him handle it.
Then the real test came…
I can only guess the man was feeling convicted for what he had done because he never speaks to me, yet, he came by me and tried to have a conversation with me. I did my best to be cordial because Paul tells us in Ephesians to be kind and compassionate to one another and to forgive one another as He forgave us in Christ. But I have to tell you it was hard because the devil was working HARD. It was like my mind was in a ping pong match trying to listen to what he was saying and listening to the negative thoughts asking why is he talking to me and telling me that I really don’t care what he is talking about and so on and so forth.
I laugh about it now but at the time by the end of the exchange I was mentally drained. I was proud of myself for the way I responded and handled the situation though because in my B.C. days (before Christ was the center of my life) it would have ended in a totally different way so I figured I would just leave it alone. However, the thought of the situation kept creeping up in my head for a few days and I would get hot and irritated about it again and start thinking negatively.
Be that as it may, with the revelation I have about forgiveness, I figured out that I was being guided to turn to the Messiah and ask for guidance on how to forgive for the embarrassment and not just try to forget about it. Since He is the King of mercy, I know He would be able to show me how to have mercy for my fellow brothers and sisters. I need to be able to be around him and work with him so I need to truly forgive him not only for my own health but in order to stay in God’s good graces. All of this also made me realize that there are other situations and people in my past that I haven’t quite forgiven although I’ve said I have. I pray about it.
Now that I have learned this new in depth meaning of forgiveness it’s something I am working hard to abide by through Jesus Christ. He said plain as day in Matthew 6 to forgive others for their offenses and our Heavenly Father will forgive us as well and I would not want Him denying me any forgiveness I ask for so I will try my best to mirror that command.
I just love the way the Lord reveals what I am missing in my life so that I am able to get it right.
All praises to the Most High God!