If I were to keeping a good record of “sins” committed against me, my ledger would be full of people that I had good reason to hold a grudge against. It would include some of my former close friends, family members, businessmen, teachers, pastors, people I thought I could trust and even myself.
I began to think about these “offenders” that went back to my early childhood—and realized that I still resented what they did! It’s embarrassing and incredible to think that I would still have some resentment in my life for some folks that are probably long dead and gone. But I realized that even though I might have forgotten about what they had done, I still have not forgiven them. In fact, I have been nurturing the anger for years and was not even aware of it. I felt wounded, years later, of the slights, insults and attacks I received, but I simply thought that walking away, or growing older, would heal the hurt that they caused me.
But I was reminded of my need to forgive and get on with living as a true follower of Christ. I found out that I needed His healing hand upon my heart for the many injuries I had received from the words, actions and ignorance of others. But the healing that God provides happens only when I choose to let go and forgive them and can learn to truly pray for their well-being and blessing.
Do I feel His forgiveness, or is there something (or someone) within me suggesting that He has not forgiven me? It’s either the enemy attempting to suggest that my sins are far too great to match up to Christ’s perfect sacrifice for me at calvary (a truly ludicrous suggestion), or something within my soul has decided that I want His forgiveness but I simultaneously want to hold onto someone’s “trespass” against me.
He has given me ample opportunities to prove that I have repented of my sins committed against Him and that I am serious about letting go of the infinitely smaller sins committed against me. I think that He must be permitting me to recall all the folks I should have already forgiven but have secretly held a grudge against not for my salvation (I am sealed) for the divine purpose of sanctification—-i.e. being made whole and holy.
It’s one thing to morbidly torture myself trying to imagine who I have forgotten to forgive, or to let the enemy convince me that God is not forgiving me or providing me the blessed life He wants to because I have failed to spend enough time remembering those long, lost hurts that I have never formally buried. But Paul boldly explained in Colossians 2 that , “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” I am free from the penalty and guilt of sin. Thus from the new birth, when I first became a Christian, to the new life, which is the process of being made holy, I am free from any need for revenge or relishing a chance to “get even”. I have now come to prefer the peace and joy that comes from surrendering what once could have been called my “right” (for justice or a fair outcome) to trusting Him to give me all that I need or could ever hope for……but I must continue to let go of the insults and hurts that will plague me as long as I live on this earth.