Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Forgiving's sake!

I've been provoked lately to talk to God about the concept of forgiveness. In November and December, just in time for the holidays, I came down with a bad case of non-forgiveness. I had two different family members do me wrong, in my perspective, and make no attempt at a even a semblance of an apology. So, I hunkered down and became self-indulgently bitter. It wasn't so much of a conscious decision of embitterment as it was a thick mud out of which I could not seem to step. Any I kept thinking I should forgive, and I should try, but by my own willpower I couldn't do it.

Image from here
And then, for some reason, I let go. I had several conversations with people I love and respect and realized that there was nothing I could do to try to forgive. I just had to ask God to help me. I find God often brings me back to the there is no way I can do this on my own thought before he is going to do something really cool in my life. Often when I have that thought I know I am ready to hear his voice. Thus, in early January, I stopped trying to forgive and simply decided to learn more about forgiveness. For me this small step has meant reading a scripture verse or two each week and asking God what he has to tell me through it. One verse in particular has stood out to me. It says:

If you are going to give a gift to God, but you know someone has a grudge against you, go and resolve the conflict. Be reconciled to that person. Then, after you have a resolution, you can go and present your offering to God. 
(Paraphrase of Matthew 5:23-24)

I had Adam read the verse after I did because I wanted to make sure it really says that if someone has something against you, YOU can go make it right. I've been talking to God about this scripture because, although I am less stuck in the mud of bitterness, I still don't understand how and why it is my responsibility to be reconciled to a person when they have taken no action towards a resolution. Any thoughts? Have you had an experience with forgiveness or unforgiveness that relates to this scripture

1 comment:

  1. Hey Emily,
    I just discovered your post. For some reason, my rss reader doesn't have this blog show me updates, but I have had to deal with bitterness and injustice a lot in the last year. I'm also struggling with how to let go and forgive people who have been just downright mean and unfair to me. I'm not personally connected to a lot of these people - it's mainly on a professional level. But the bitterness can just make me a cruel, negative person. I'm trying to let go and trying to forgive even though I may never have contact with these people again.

    another thought...Whenever I think of forgiveness, I think back to a situation back in high school where someone hurt me a lot - legitimately. I remember learning through that experience that I can forgive, but that there are still consequences for people's actions. The relationship may not be the same right away - or ever. I think you can forgive and move on, but still be reconciled to that relationship looking a little different.

    Thanks for sharing about what you're working through - (or by this point, may have already worked through :) )