Have you ever noticed how quickly we judge somebody else's shortcomings while making all kinds of allowance for our own? Paul talks about 'the riches of...grace' that God lavished on us. But we strain that grace when we refuse to extend it to others.
Jesus said, '...when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so your Father may forgive you...' (Mark 11:25 NIV). You don't get to decide which offences you'll forgive and which ones you'll keep holding over somebody's head. We are commanded to '...love mercy...' (Micah 6:8 NIV). That means we must pursue it and make it our goal.
Don't say, 'I'll forgive him when he proves he deserves it.' Biblical forgiveness isn't conditional, can't be earned, isn't deserved, and you can't bargain for it. Jesus said, '...Give as freely as you...received' (Matthew 10:8 NLT)! 'If I forgive her she'll have got away with it.' You're not letting anybody get away with anything, because even when you've forgiven the offender there's still a penalty to be paid. It's just not your job to enforce it. 'If I forgive him he'll keep hurting me.' Forgiveness doesn't mean the relationship always stays the same. It takes time to rebuild trust and make sure repentance is genuine. In fact, if the offence is abusive or puts you in danger - forgive, but maintain a safe distance. 'If I forgive her she's free to hurt me again.' The truth is, she's free to do it again anyway, just like you're free to show grace even when the offender doesn't ask or show any sign of repentance.
I. Love. This.
Learning how to forgive has been amazing. Forgiveness is one of my favourite things in the whole world. Before i learned how to forgive i had so much anger built up inside me that my chest always felt tight. I felt like i could explode any minute - all the time.
Holding grudges, and not forgiving the people that had hurt me during my life, did nothing but hurt me more, and ironically, the people that i thought i was hurting back by not forgiving them didn't give a toss.
Learning how to forgive truly changed who i am.
It didn't mean that i thought their actions were ok. It didn't mean that i wanted them in my life, or even anything to do with them . It just meant that i had accepted what had happened and would no longer allow it to hurt or affect me.
The day that i realised how important forgiveness is, and learned how to actually forgive, was like starting my life all over with no hurt or bad things. It was and still is, an amazing feeling.
Right - I have crappy things to do today, and then i have a wonderful evening to look forward to tonight. Mr T is coming over, and i am going to cook dinner for us. I haven't cooked for anyone except the kids since Toys R Us landed on my doorstep to get me to buy his beer for him, and he didn't count. That dude would have eaten dog food if it had been free.
Oh, and i managed to dispose of the corpse that i found on my bedroom floor yesterday. It only took me three hours of avoiding my bedroom to work out how to do it. I then waited for Billy to get home, so that i had a bit of support in case something went horribly wrong.
Mousey got scooped up in the dustpan, dropped in a box, then thrown into the recycle bin, in about 10 seconds flat. I am the speed mouse corpse disposer.
My apologies to the recycling people who may or may not come across it.