By Guest Contributor: Joy A. Williams
Forgiveness feels good when it comes my way. It scratches my itch for another chance. It lets me back in when I should be left out.
But when it’s time for me to forgive, forgiveness may feel awkward or even unfair. I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s what Jesus did for us on Calvary’s Cross. It’s what He does for me daily.
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. (Psalm 86:5 NLT)
Forgiveness moves us forward. I was reminded of its force when I saw a church sign a few years ago.
It read “If you stole our stuff, we forgive you.”
As I consider hurt feelings over a recent relationship struggle, the words on the sign inspire me to say: “Although you stole my stuff, I forgive you.”
I don’t know what items were missing from the church. But I do know the “items” missing from my heart.
Trust. Treasured memories. Future plans.
Are stolen items missing from your heart too? Are chunks of dignity or pieces of a dream absent? Forgiveness doesn’t change what happened, but it changes what could happen if we don’t forgive. We may become bound to the thing we disdain instead of becoming free to walk in God’s purpose.
And yet, I’m still learning.
Forgiveness is how we grow in front of people. Bitterness is how we grow weary by what happened.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31 and 32 NLT)
Letting go of an offense is a strenuous “growth opportunity.” Our pain matters. But what Christ did for us matters too. We must decide if what He did matters most.
I can be tempted to fix things myself with a sharp-tongue or misguided perspective until I realize…
Forgiveness acknowledges what went wrong while trusting God to make it right.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5 and 6 NLT)
It’s not always easy, but He can always be trusted.
I hope the person who stole the church’s items stepped up, made amends and met the Savior. I see Christ working in my struggling relationship in both tough and tender moments.
I want Him to take over my perspective when forgiveness is required.
I praise Him for taking what was meant for evil and turning it into something good.
If your “stuff is stolen,” God knows all about your pain. Whether you need to meet the Savior or need to grow in front of people, may you be restored by His grace and move forward.
About Joy A. Williams
Joy A. Williams is an author, blogger, and speaker. She has served as a small-group Bible study leader, Women’s Conference and Retreat speaker for over twenty years. Her years of experience of encouraging others with God’s grace has deepened her enjoyment of sharing His life-changing truth in Christ.
She is the author of Friendship MAPS: A Journey through Maturity, Aspirations, Perspectives, and Struggles. Joy shares “hope for the heart and joy to the soul” on her weekly blog (at https://joyAwilliams.com) and she loves living life in North Carolina with her husband Brady and their son.
In addition to subscribing to her weekly blog, you can also connect with Joy on Twitter or Facebook @joytothesoul and on Pinterest @joy2thesoul.