When my kids were about 4 and 5, I was trying to teach them about offenses. I was always a big “like as” teacher. So, I told them offenses were like “hot rocks.” The quicker you let it go, the less damage it will do to your hand. Well, after a rather intense day of shopping and the kids were annoying each other, I told my daughter to just “Drop the hot rock.” She looked at me, “I want to take this hot rock and hit him in the head with it.” I Have you ever considered, you have no control over who/what offends you? You have no control over who tosses you the hot rock.
You only have control over whether you catch it or not.
You only have control over how you respond if you do catch it.
You only have control over who you throw rocks at.
The crazy thing about offense (which is being hurt by injustice, irritated or annoyed) is it is often unavoidable. Sometimes you catch it because it was aimed at you. Unfortunately, even if you were trying to deflect, it will have the same effect:
It will tempt you to be bitter.
It will tempt you to want revenge.
It will tempt you to try to control others so that you can protect your heart.
It will tempt you to make promises to yourself to never let that again.
It will tempt you to make unrighteous assessments.
It will tempt you to create self-protecting shield because you expect or anticipate to be treated that way again.
So, if it is gonna happen, then what can you do about it? How can you walk through a world filled with injustice and still be free? How can you take care of your Heart-Harmony, your inner self, to maintain peace?
Freedom comes from forgiving an offense. It doesn’t mean the offense, the wound, didn’t hurt. But the scars give testimony to the presence of God in our lives.
Forgiveness is an awesome word if you are the receiver!!! What a yucky word if you are the provider.
For a Believer, the word forgiveness can strike terror in your heart because Jesus said, “Forgive so you will be forgiven.”
For a hurting heart, the task of forgiveness seems like an insurmountable obstacle of impossible.
For an abused heart, it is scary that if forgiveness is given, does that mean you will be defenseless?
I have ridden the roller coaster internally, white-knuckling to forgive, trembling with fear of the offender, and burying the offense trying to say that I had let it go. The huge indicator that the “bitter root” (Heb. 12:15) was alive and well was the unresolved emotions. Having grown up with a lot of misunderstanding about forgiveness – what it was and was not – sent me on a search. I have learned, to truly walk in freedom, I have to take care of my heart. If my heart has an issue, that it has been offended, maybe it is revealing something deeper and the offense has uncovered it. I have come to realize, usually, Jesus is after that unredeemed area of my heart. He wants that part to know His love and redemption. He wants that part to witness of the Kingdom of God. He wants to bring freedom to be whole and that little area was a pebble left over from a stony heart.
Did you realize forgiveness is how God ushers in the Kingdom of His love? He came so we could be forgiven. He came to forgive us. When we don’t forgive, the Kingdom of God is suppressed.
So really, living in heart harmony internally and peaceful harmony externally with others is the very reflection of the essence of God’s love.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog about “What is and is not Forgiveness?” go to Part 2.