I am way behind with my 31 Days of December, but hey-ho! As ever, the wonderful Kurilane is providing some inspiring prompts and today (7th) is no exception. It has however, faced me with a personal challenge. Kurilane’s post on forgiveness is worth reading, it is far more eloquent and gracious than this is likely to be but that’s the beauty of blogging – we all tell our stories differently.
The theme for these 31 Days of December is positivity, so I ask that you persevere, there are some positive bits I promise, they might not be in-your-face obvious, but they’re there. This might be a good time to suggest you snuggle into your sloppy joes, prepare a nice large glass or mug of your preferred lubricant, add a snack, settle yourself down in your favourite chair and brace yourself, it could be a long ride depending on what happens as I write!
Dec 7th: Forgiveness
I don’t really know where to start with this one to be honest. There are some things that have cut so deep I know I haven’t forgiven them. I also know there are things I’ve done in my life where someone somewhere has not forgiven me either. Both of these hurt…daily.
I am very conscious of what is expected of me as a Christian, indeed what I expect from myself too! The most well known of course comes from the Lord’s prayer;
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others…
Except, as mentioned, there are some I haven’t…so where does that leave me? Unforgiven by God? The Holy Scriptures indicate exactly that. Matthew 6:15 says,
But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.
That’s me stuffed then! Or is it…?
I can recall the moment I realised I was still angry…still vengeful…still so hurt that I could not forgive certain people for their actions and behaviours like it was yesterday. The moment happened in church of all places. The vicar was giving the most passionate sermon we’d heard from him (we’d been going about three years at this point!) and it was on forgiveness. My blood literally started to boil as I sat there thinking; “It’s all well and good him preaching at us like this, he has no idea what any of us have been through.” Then we got to the confessional prayer and I knew I could not say the words. How could I sit there and repeat things like “forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life…” It was bad enough that my blood was boiling, but to speak words I did not mean…while in Church! No…I couldn’t do it. It’s bad to say, but I stopped going to church for nearly 2 years after that service. Not because the church wasn’t a good place to be…but because I could not attend services pretending all was hunkydory when inside I was raging.
We started going back to church about two and half years later. Still not in the best of places personally, but wanting to make that change. I got quite involved in various aspects of church life and another year on I was asked to help lead at some ‘informal’ services held at our church centre. The theme for one of the first services I was asked to give a talk at…you’ve guessed it…it was on forgiveness. HA!
It actually did me the world of good! As I put together my talk, searching for the content I would use to get this important message across, I found myself soaking up its importance. Then I came across this clip, which had a profound impact on me, so much so I used it in the service and was able to talk about the subject of forgiveness, and this clip, not just from the heart but from the very centre of my being. This is not easy to watch, or listen to but it’s worth it for the message…
Lessons I learned:
- Nothing I had or have gone through since came within a hairs breadth of what Corrie endured. She found strength to Forgive.
- Did I want forgiving when I had done wrong and said sorry? Yes! It’s worth remembering that we (I) behave as badly as those who offend me at times. I’m no better, no worse, just human.
- When it was really hard for me to forgive, I needed to rember that I didn’t have to – Corrie’s testimony helped me understand better than a thousand sermons…I couldn’t forgive, and still struggle, but Jesus could, can, and will and He would do it for me if I let Him. WI’ll I let Him? Yes!
It’s okay to struggle with forgiveness now and again, I mean let’s be realistic here, when someone hurts us deeply, it takes time before we are able to look at it objectively. Not devoid of all emotion, but at least in a place of putting it in perspective. A place where the pain has lost its sting and we are weary of being resentful…hurt…angry. These emotions are very hard work and take too much joy out of your life. Am I there yet? No, not always if I’m honest. But I get to that more peaceful place much quicker these days. Yay!
My dear readers if you got this far, bravo! 👏🏻 Thank you. I told you there was a positives though it took me a long time to get there didn’t it? (I hope you took my advice at the beginning and got yourself comfy before you started 😉).
Just to finish, Emma Caddy was Kurilane’s guest post and offers some ‘how to…’ on forgiving. You may find some of her tips helpful too.
Thank you so much for sticking with it.
Be blessed…feel peace…be filled with joy and rejoice 😇
With love 🌹