The indisputable truth about an unforgiving mindset is it can (and will) cripple our life spiritually, emotionally and physically. God desires us to be Christ-like in every area and since He has unconditionally forgiven us, I’m pretty certain He expects us to reciprocate forgiveness to others.
“But, you have no idea what he or she did to me and my family!” No, I don’t. I can only speak about my own life circumstances. I’ve had to drink the ‘forgiveness’ cocktail more than once.
Let me share:
Once upon a time I married my prince, or so I thought, but he was actually a toad incognito. Let’s call him ‘Dick’ to protect his identity. Sidebar: This person is NOT my daughter’s father who remains a good friend to this day.
I gifted this prince my heart. In return, he gifted me a secret life of strip clubs, porn, drugs and lies. Imagine going to work and a co-worker shares, “I’m pretty sure I saw your husband at my in-home nurse visit today. He seemed to be living there.”
It all proved true. Dick’s out of town commercial paint jobs were really nights spent with the ‘other’ woman… or at strip clubs. Once his secret life was exposed, Dick never returned home and the IRS lien notices soon followed. My prince had defaulted on his quarterly business taxes and our home was about to go into foreclosure.
Call it bad choices, ignoring the obvious signs or being blind-sided. The truth is life happens and the ending doesn’t always play out like Hallmark movies.
In the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go.” My translation would be closer to this:
I can ‘let go’ after you suffer alive as body parts are dissected for science; or, you experience a forever erection and acquire a disease that requires a lifetime catheter. Yep, you should get what is due you for my pain and suffering.
But then, there is God and His mercy. Hard to ignore when we look at the cross and realize we didn’t get what was coming to us.
“Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage; stop all fighting and lying. Put away every form of hatred.” Ephesians 4:31 (NIRV)
God’s ‘Forgiveness’ cocktail doesn’t mean you condom the offense. God forgave King David of serious sins (murder and adultery), but David still suffered the consequences of his actions even after asking for forgiveness. We aren’t the judge and jury for how the actions of others impact our life.
“Let go of anger and abandon rage.” (Psalms 37:8). To partake and reap the full benefits of the ‘forgiveness cocktail’ we must let go.
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis.
I had one brief encounter with Dick after he abandoned us. It was at his mother’s funeral. He gave no indication we had ever been married and shared an intimate relationship, but that’s OK. My decision to forgive rather than retaliate has yielded 23 years of marriage to a man who more than makes up for the guy I thought was my prince.
Prayer for today:
Dear Lord, help me to remember Colossians 3:14:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Remind me that your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith.
It sounds like writing this post has been cathartic, too. So sorry for what you suffered, but so glad it led you to Chris. God is good, through it all.
Never thought of this post in that light, but it is probably very true. The act of penning words to paper often brings healing in ways we never considered.