This post is a little different. I start out by describing a scene of hurt, then attempt to apply what we learn from it.
It’s now the correct time to unpack your imagination. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Imagine a wide staircase. You and a friend are standing together on one of the steps, relaxed and talking. You say something. Unexpectedly, your friend turns on you and begins spewing out verbal garbage about you, at the same time jabbing at you.
You’re in shock. You don’t believe it, even as it is happening! You almost stumble, then grab onto an arm and hit back, yelling above that voice you used to enjoy hearing The two of you stumble and go down one step, then another step; hanging onto each other.
STOP! FREEZE THE FRAME RIGHT THERE!
Look at the scene. Both mouths are wide open yelling
The body language is aggression!
Can we identify with this scene in our daily lives?? . . . People we love turn on us or fail us? Or we are with people who are hurting, have become bitter, and then cut at us? What can we do?
There are the countless daily irritations, plus emotional betrayals, crooked business deals, family problems – with spouses, children, and more. The thing in common for each item? Each one tightens up our bodies in anger or fear.
How can we live in peace and forgiveness when all this wrong stuff bombards us daily? That’s what we’re going to talk about.
First, let’s go back to that scene and let it roll. It can end in several different ways.
Today, we’ll look at a couple of them, one at a time.
Two friends, one creates an offense (a form of betrayal) , the second uses offense in self-defense. They stumble to a lower step. If this continues to go as it is right now, they will continue pulling each other down, from one level to another, until they part in anger and bitterness.
The frightening thing about this situation is that even after walking away from each other,they are still connected emotionally in a negative way. Words were uttered along with actions that will continue to fester and create an inner moldy substance. Regardless of distance or time, they will be linked emotionally until at least one of them learns how to be freed from the yoke of bitterness, which keeps increasing in weight with each passing year, destroying whoever carries it in their heart, as well as all others with whom they come into contact.
Bitterness is an ugly root that can entwine itself around our emotions, twisting how we see the world around us. If we let it, it will completely take over our personalities, poisoning us on the inside: affecting our emotions, our health, our families, and our world. I am not being too dramatic about it; that is what bitterness is.
Hebrews 12:15Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—
I’ve watched bitterness destroy others: I had my own personal battle with it in my 20’s over a very unimportant incident. I learned I never want it in my life again. Bitterness is horrible; it strangles the life out of one. But if I want things my way, and am not willing to let go of “my rights”, I open myself to resentment and bitterness. I painfully learned that nothing is worth hanging onto if it opens the door to self-destruction.
The second result of this scene is a little more complicated to explain, but I will try.
I want to stress this is an opinion – something I have thought about – but I am not teaching this as a theological truth.
Here we go . . .
There is mystery in God’s Word…
God does not exist within a time frame, right? But something that happens here on earth (for example Christ dying on the cross for all of our sins), is, for us who are living now within the frame of time, an event that happened a couple of thousand years ago.
But, if it’s placed in the frame of eternity, where there is no time, is it still happening?
In one sense, I think the answer may be “yes.” If Christ died for every one of our sins from the beginning to the end of time, and I live within that time frame, then don’t the sins I commit today give Him a heavier burden of sin and pain on the cross.?
If I mistreat others, does it all continue increasing on the balance scale in eternity? Is this the outcome I want in my life, causing more pain to Christ on the cross? Or do I want the load of pain upon my Lord to be less.
Is it possible that a simple unforgiven offense can reap untold sorrow and pain down throughout the centuries?
How long will this momentl from this scene be frozen in the universe, even as these two walk away from each other in anger? How can this negative bondage be broken? Is forgiveness absolutely necessary here? Who forgives whom? And when?
Matt 6: 14-15 The Message
Jesus said: “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
Let’s examine forgiveness a little more closely.
A definition I read the other day about forgiveness: it is releasing my right to demand justice and revenge against a person. Ouch!
Can I trust God to carry through with my protection in this situation? Will He defend me from wrong if I release my rights? Do I really believe it when He says He is my fortress?
This is the decision each one of us faces, Daily. In all circumstances. We have to work it through in our minds. Then, if or when, I decide that I want to forgive, how do I do it?
Now is when we can go back to that scene when you were attacked verbally and/or physically by the person you thought was a friend. However it was expressed, it was a betrayal of trust.
This time we’re going to put our Lord in the midst of the scene (and He IS always there,we just don’t think of His presence.
You are standing there; your “friend” becomes your enemy, hurting you deeply. You respond in self-defense. The two of you are standing, yoked together by your hands on each other’s bodies, each one with the purpose of hurting the other. Awareness hits, you remember what the Lord teaches us about forgiveness. You pull your hand away, giving up your right for revenge and justice; instead, you give your enemy to God for Him to handle.
When you do this, God removes your enemy’s hand from you, holding his hand away from you. You are free to walk away, free from the yoke of bondage to that person.
You may be hurting, in sorrow and confusion. But, you are free! Free to heal. Free to learn. Free to be blessed.
One important thing: Each time the sorrow, hurt and confusion begin to move into your mind, go yhrough the process we just went through. Visually think of standing on those steps, and forgiving, giving that person to God. Then able to turn and walk away free.
Why did I place this scene on the steps? Look at what happened. Your enemy wanted to degrade you. But what happens when you forgive?” God lifts you one or two steps above the person who tried to “put you down.”
We choose on a daily basis.
a) I can be a slave to my emotions of anger and bitterness, which then lead to a constant downward spiral or,
b) I can forgive, and forgiveness frees me. I do not have to crawl in the dirt of anger and horrid memories of when people purposefully hurt me.
When I look at it like this, I wonder: Why do I sometimes hesitate before forgiving?
A good question.
A thought to take with you:
Following our Father God’s instructions, He begins giving wings to my spirit, along with His peace, and teaching me how to fly.
I like that. How about you?
For more on why I’m writing this blog, please read ABOUT ME .
– Voni P.