23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”-Matthew 5:23-24 (The Message)
A couple years ago, I was tasked with leading a team. As I was praying one morning, I realized I was harboring bitterness and resentment toward three people. The thought of these people made me cringe and I still had unresolved feelings of hurt and betrayal. I was prompted by The Holy Spirit to pray for these three people. As I prayed for them authentically, I began to see them as human beings who were spouses, parents, taxpayers and more. I eventually reconciled with two of the people and keep all three people in my prayers.
Jesus never committed a sin but willingly died for everyone so we could be in relationship with God. When God sees us, he sees Jesus and we are seen as righteous. We are seen in right standing with God despite the fact we never paid the penalty for our sins. As human beings, we can sometimes forget that God forgave us of our sins and shortcomings. You should not be a doormat for anyone but we need to take an inventory of your heart. Are you asking God to forgive you for your sins but you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone else? Forgiveness does not mean you were not hurt. It means that you have decided to let the person off the hook and you will not continue wish them ill.
I know in life we will have people who will betray, disappoint and hurt us. Sometimes, it is done on purpose and other times it was done unintentionally. We have to remember none of us is perfect. We will betray, disappointment and hurt other people intentionally and unintentionally. We will expect for people to forgive us and extend mercy to us. We need to do the same to other people. Forgiveness is a process and it should not be done quickly. Reconciliation does not equal forgiveness. Sometimes, we cannot be restored to the exact standing with everyone who we have been hurt by and that is okay. We need to make a decision to be honest. Can you imagine if every error we have ever made is played on repeat daily for everyone to hear and see? If you truly forgive, you cannot bring up the grievance everyday for the rest of your life.
Walk in forgiveness!