Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Can you relate to the bumper sticker, "The more I'm around people, the more I love my dog"? Do you define your life before and after the BIG hurt? Do you still find it hard to believe that the horrible season, the shocking day, the unfair separation, the mean conversation, actually happened to you? The moment everything changed. Life now is different because of someone else's actions. That moment changed everything.
Forgiveness is not easy. It comes from our battle-weary souls as we participate in this sacred dance. We partner with Jesus. We have received forgiveness from the Lord and now we allow it to pass through us so that bitterness and resentment don’t become an added weight. Forgiveness is not offered through clenched teeth, in a desperate muscle-through moment. It is not based on our efforts; it is leaning into what Jesus has already done. Forgiveness is allowing His grace to flow freely through us. God knew we couldn't do it alone, so He gave us Jesus. He gave us His power, and when we grabbed His outstretched, nail-scarred hands, we received His forgiveness so that we can give forgiveness to others. Pain is too burdensome to bear, and our souls deserve the freedom that Jesus offers.
Are you in a cycle of unresolved pain, replaying the damage on the reel in your mind? Today, accept the forgiveness that can only come from Jesus, and extend the gift to others.
God, thank You for caring about my pain. Show me how I can cooperate with You, even when it's hard. Help me to forgive as You have forgiven me. Amen.