I have been attempting a post about forgiveness for quite some time now. God sure does have a funny way of bringing things full circle. When I initially started this post I had a completely different tone than I have now. I touched on how Satan uses our lack of forgiveness to put a wedge in our relationship with Christ. I may still explore that aspect later. However, I truly feel like God wanted me to focus on a different point.
Today in my Community Group we discussed Colassians 3. It directs us as Christians in a very practical way of living in the Spirit of Christ. We dove into being dead to our sinful ways and we must flee from immorality. Honestly we didn’t even touch on forgiveness much. However, it brought up something I had been struggling with in forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not an easy subject to tackle. Usually when we struggle to forgive someone it is because they have hurt us deeply or mistreated us. Forgiveness sometimes makes us feel like we are giving that individual a pass. That we are basically making it okay that they did whatever it is they did. However, that is not the case at all. We don’t necessarily forgive for the person who hurt us. Sometimes they may not even know or need to know. We do it to please our Heavenly Father and so that we may receive forgiveness ourselves. We do it to live in unity with one another.
Thankfully the Lord has blessed me with a forgiving heart. This sometimes feels like a blessing and a curse. This isn’t to say I never struggle. Sometimes it isn’t as easy as saying “okay I forgive you and everything is okay.” Sometimes a person’s action affects us daily and we have to make a choice to continue to forgive every.single.day. Sometimes we even have to forgive ourselves daily for bad decisions we have made that continue to affect us.
As a single mom, I feel like this is something that I struggle with regularly. Especially when things get hard. Like when I am struggling financially and have to figure out which bill can wait because I had an unexpected childcare cost. Or when I am slammed at work and she gets sick so I have to drop what I’m doing to take care of her. Not having the second parent I can depend on affects me on a regular basis. It has gotten easier for me, but I still find myself filled with resentment and anger some days. I have anger towards him but I also have anger towards myself.
I think a big part of forgiving other’s is looking inwardly at our own actions also. Sometimes it is sin on both sides that have gotten you into this situation and you have to recognize your part also. We are all sinners and no sin is greater than the other. So that fact should prompt us to forgive more easily.
Another part of forgiveness is praying for that person. Just because the person has wronged us doesn’t mean we are free from praying for them.
I know some of you are are like “well so-and-so isn’t even sorry for what they have done, so why should I pray for them?” Believe me, I get it. Forgiving someone that feels like they are doing no wrong is difficult and praying for them is even harder. It is hard to show compassion to someone that continues to not own up to their misdeeds.
It doesn’t matter though!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colassians 3: 12-14
This is where I truly struggle. In this particular case, I have found myself just not praying for him. Or I would flippantly pray that God’s will be done in his life because I honestly felt like it was a hopeless situation. I didn’t know what to pray because I didn’t know what I wanted out of the situation. As a Christian I knew I had to pray for him, but as a mom I didn’t know what my prayers would cause. Selfishly I have gotten used to having my daughter to myself. I have been able to protect her from negativity and instability and I didn’t know if praying for him to be part of her life was a good thing or a bad thing. I didn’t know how it would affect me to allow her to be away from me and to have no control of what she is exposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I have some legitimate concerns but generally my prayers were being driven by selfish fears. That is not of God and He truly had to deal with me in this situation.
A while back I was reading Colossians 1. Verses 13-14 say “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” I’m not sure why God used this particular passage to grab my attention but wow. “For he has rescued US.” The ‘us’ is what stood out to me. He has rescued all of us from the dominion of darkness. It isn’t an I or them thing. It’s for all of us. I was forced to recognize that if he rescued me, why wouldn’t he rescue him too? Why did I feel like God couldn’t work miracles in his life and lead him to do the right thing by his daughter? Why was I being so selfish to allow my own fears to prevent me from passionately praying for this man? I truly had to repent and ask for forgiveness for my selfishness and lack of faith. God continues to work in and through me on this. Not solely in this situation but other’s throughout my everyday life.
I challenge you also to reflect on your own life. I pray that you allow God to work in you and I also pray he continues to work in me. I pray he will open our hearts. I pray that God reveals to us our sin and I pray for repentance. I pray that one day I will look back at this post and not only say that God is able but also that God did it. I pray that God will mend broken relationships so that we may live in unity with one another. Please continue to keep me in your prayers.