Last Sunday I said: “I love it when God uses two (or more) sources, in a short amount of time, to enforce His message to me.” Then proceeded to share how two separate sources gave similar messages within the same day. Today God did the same thing! It seems that almost every week that I have facilitated the Bible study dealing with anger; God confirms what I have learned with another source! To me that is powerful because it shows me that what I am learning is coming from his heart to mine.
So, like I said, God did this again today. God first revealed this particular message to me last summer. I had several people in my life confirm that the message was authentic at that time. A few weeks ago, the same message came up in our Bible study; allowing me to reflect how I responded to God’s message. Then today, Pastor Brian preached the same exact message, and even said some phrases almost word for word (and I am pretty sure that he did not read our Bible study notes)! The message was all about FORGIVENESS.
Both Pastor Brian (today at church) and Dr. S.M. Davis (a couple of weeks ago through his sermon on DVD entitled: “How To Heal A Wounded Spirit”) talked about how people wound us and how we allow the wound to get worse by not dealing with it properly.
I really liked the following quote from Dr. Davis’ sermon: “If someone wounds you and walks away without doing anything to help; that does not mean that you have to lay there and die.”
He went on to talk about how we need to forgive the person even if they don’t ask for it because: “If someone wounds you either knowingly or unknowingly and walks away; who is going to be in the worse shape 6 months from now if you don’t treat it? You or Them?”
Both Pastor Brian and Dr. Davis addressed the fact that none of us fully understand what we did to Jesus. We crucified Jesus just as much as the Roman soldiers who were there that day. Jesus forgave us when he was on the cross and we were not there to ask for his forgiveness. Jesus forgave us before we were born and he forgave us even though we were undeserving.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they are doing…” Luke 23:34
Last summer when my life hit rock bottom; I had to make one of the biggest decisions of my life. Do I forgive the person who wounded me so deeply? I had already forgiven this person almost 4 years before for almost the same offense. Why was it so hard to forgive them again? I think it was because I thought that the circumstance was unfair. After all, I had never done anything that bad to this person. I had already forgiven them once; why should I have to forgive them again for the same thing? They were completely undeserving of my forgiveness! It was even worse that this person did not understand or seem to care about the extent of the wound they caused. This person knew they wounded me and was sorry about it. But if it were up to them; the subject would be dropped, and we would move on, so that things between us could be “normal” again.
After some extensive counseling, and a lot of tears while pouring my heart out to God, I was convicted about how I was thinking. I came to realize that we as humans tend to rate sins or offenses. We put them into categories of “Really Bad,” “Bad,” and “Not So Bad.” I personally rated the offense against me as “Really Bad” and most everyone else probably would too. It wasn’t until I put myself on the same level as the other person that I was able to move away from my view. It doesn’t matter how great or small we as humans look at it; in God’s eyes, sin is sin. Romans 3:23 states:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
I needed Jesus to cleanse me of my sins just like this other person needed the same. I realized that just as Jesus forgave me for crucifying him; I needed to forgive this person for wounding me.
During the forgiving process that I went through; I also recognized that there were things that I did to contribute to what had happened. I could no longer put all of the blame on the offender. This turned the tables a lot! That meant that I had some work to do on my end.
I can now say that I truly have forgiven this person and that the offense is behind us. I’m not saying that it doesn’t surface at times or that either of us are completely healed. I am saying that God is working in both of our lives and the healing process is continuing. If I had stayed in my unforgiving state; then I would have become bitter and I would have suffered an even greater wound. Instead, I chose to be obedient to God and fully depend on him to get me out of the pit I was in. I praise God for working my life and allowing me to grow because of this experience.