A couple of weeks ago, I began writing a blog post entitled "Forgiveness". OBVIOUSLY because I have all this wisdom to share about forgiveness because of my past, right? LOL. "It's so important to forgive, blah, blah, blah." God has such a sense of humor.
A few days later, my world was rocked by revelations, the nature of which are very sensitive and close to my heart. I abandoned the draft and its contents as my soul felt all too familiar feelings of hate and the deepest disguist.
"Oh God, no." My soul became anguished and my body trembled as the old nausea ensued.
Over the course of the last few years, I felt I had plumbed the depths of old hurts and, after having received great healing of my gaping soul wounds, released all involved. I experienced the lightness of forgiveness and assumed that I must have passed the test. However, I'm learning that the way God teaches us about forgiveness is similar to an onion. We forgive. Another level/layer of hurt comes to light. We forgive again. Hello, new layer. Forgive again. Rinse and repeat.
This time I had not seen these revelations coming and they hit me harder than I could ever have anticipated. I told God that He had brought me the one thing I can't forgive. (For me, it's much easier to release someone for hurt that have caused me and much harder to forgive for the pain they have caused someone I love.)
Despite all I know and have experienced about anger and bitterness, I allowed my soul to dwell in a place of utter contempt for a few days. I was angry, no enraged. And hurt. And bitter. My sweet husband helplessly watched my descent as I relived my old wounds.
Thankfully, I pressed into God throughout the process and candidly communicated my grief and rage. He lovingly pushed me to grapple with a new understanding of forgiveness. He reminded me that He is the greatest defender of the oppressed and abused. He IS justice and I needn't seek my own. He orchestrates all things, even the wicked for the day of disaster. (Proverbs) He showed me that the Enemy would love nothing more than to inject bitterness into my testimony and rob me of my joy all to discount the work and name of Jesus. He reminded me of the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. (OUCH! Obviously, that's where I derived inspiration for the title. Jesus said we must forgive those who sin against us "seventy times seven".) He reminded me that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. He is so, so good and patient with my hardheaded, stubborn self. LOL.
If, Dear Reader, you find yourself struggling with feelings of hurt and anger from the past, I beg you to take them to the cross. Jesus knows your hurt and hates what hurt you. He DIED so that you could have life ABUNDANTLY, not merely scrape by, dragged down by wounds and baggage. He makes all things new and heals and restores even the deepest, darkest crevices of your soul if you ask Him.
The path to forgiveness is long and occasionally dark. Sometimes I have to chose forgiveness 100x in an hour as memories and flashbacks flood my mind. Thankfully, I don't have to travel the road alone. My husband and family are the greatest, but Jesus alone can carry me through as He will with you.
"Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
- Isaiah 41:10