As I worshipped God in church, I felt a hard elbow nudge into my arm. My husband leaned in, “Kelly, he’s here.”
No sooner did I open my eyes than I saw his horrible face – and everything he did to me. This man made me question my faith. This man chided me openly in front of others. And this man “supposedly” calls himself a “man of God”, a teacher and preacher.
How did he end up here? He lives hundreds of miles away.
Sure enough, there he was – interrupting my line of sight. I closed my eyes; I could still see him. I sang, there he was. The words of the song I was half-heartedly singing were not lost on me: “It is time for your healing.”
Is it God?
I’d spent months furious about how he spoke, the doubt he caused and the rough wake of his injurious mouth. Really, God?
I guess I thought I’d already forgiven him. Clearly, I hadn’t.
“Jesus said (as he was being ridiculed, shamed, assaulted, defamed, maligned, tortured and abandoned by man), “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lu. 23:24)
Offenders, on many accounts, do not know what they are doing. They do not realize: the harm, the foul, the injury, the life-long effects, the residual pain, the continuous mind-dialogue they leave behind. They are hurt, so they hurt.
But, we are called to see beyond all this; we are called to see Jesus… Lifted up in victory, even though mankind tried to defeat Him. Interceding on our behalf, even though He was once hated. Reigning, although ridiculed.
Jesus rose to victory via forgiveness. So can we. Forgiveness is victory.
Know God’s appointments.
Just as Jesus forgave, God has strength so we can too. Ask Him for it.
You know, before seeing that man at church, I would have said I’d already forgiven him. Yet, I hadn’t.
There is an easy way to tell if you’ve really forgiven someone. After you say you’ve forgiven them, can you pray, “God will you bless ____, abundantly?”
Who do you need to forgive today?
Freedom and God’s great appointments are just on the other side of your anger, contempt, bitterness, remorse, and apathy. Hand all that to Jesus, forgive, then bless the person in the name of Jesus.
You can do it; God has your strength. He is an abundant giver.
Learn more about my new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.