I woke on Wednesday morning from an awful dream. In the dream I had been really nasty to a friend who had caused me, and a lot of others around me, a lot of pain through her lies and deceit. Also in the dream, was my very dear friend who was shocked and appalled my behaviour, was pleading with me for reason and scolding me for being so ungodly. My argument was I didn’t care and, because of the pain I had experienced through this girl’s actions, I felt justified in my behaviour.
“But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you!”
Ephesians 4:26-27 TPT
As my son woke me from the dream, I came to the quick realisation that the waking me would probably behave pretty much in the same way if put in the position of an encounter with the girl. As I put my foot out of bed to walk to the bathroom, I felt the gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit. As tears started to roll down my cheeks, I realised this was God calling me to forgive.
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
2 Timothy 2:24 NLT
My prayer in the evenings to God is, if there is an area of my life that displeases him or an area that the enemy could get in and twist, that God would highlight it to me so I could address it. Regarding this particular incident, I believed I had forgiven and, in fact, God had given me at least two gentle nudges through friends to make sure I wasn’t suppressing this. Still thinking I had forgiven, God decided to intervene in a more drastic fashion: My Dream.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
I was truly shaken by the dream and I soon realised that this wasn’t just bringing emotions of being hurt by this one girl but, in fact, I needed to address several other areas where I was withholding forgiveness for past hurt. When I offered this up to God, I felt a massive weight, I wasn’t even aware I was carrying, lifted. I kind of felt like I’d been put through the washing machine on the most powerful spin and hung out to dry. Lighter, brighter, cleaner, but a bit weather-beaten
A wise man once taught me that when it comes to forgiveness we need to separate the pain and forgiveness. I figure this is almost like the pain the person caused and the person are two separate things. We know God’s word calls us to forgive because we have been forgiven so much, but sometimes in the raw pain it’s not always just as easy as that.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
Matthew 6:14 NLT
I would have credited myself with being a very forgiving person. What’s done is done, let’s move on kind of thing. In actual fact, what I do is lack the ability to hold a grudge and just push the unforgiveness down deep within me so it’s not on public display… this I believe God has shown me is not the same as actively forgiving!
Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about finding freedom from anger. It’s about not leaving room for the enemy to sneak in and twist and turn. Yet, we are compelled to let others know that we have forgiven them. Sometimes that brings peace to others and sometimes they just don’t care. But, regardless of the other parties’ concern, our concern needs to be with allowing unforgiveness to fester in our heart.
So with all that in mind,
Would you join me today in asking God to search your heart, for God to highlight any areas of unforgiveness? Would it be your prayer that God will guide you in freedom from unforgiveness?
Remember, forgiveness is not saying what you did is ok. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. Forgiveness is freedom and protection FOR YOU!
A few years ago I taught my boys that when offered an apology their response didn’t need to be, that’s ok, which at the time they would have used a lot. They learnt to respond by saying, either they accept the apology, thank you or I forgive you. But they didn’t have to be ok with the behaviour to forgive. Sometimes I, even as the person who encourages this, still struggle to say the words, I forgive, in some situations.
Prayers of love & peace