Sunday, May 29, 2011

Victories: Forgiveness

Greetings!  Our little community has evidently had its electric restored (we never lost electric, praise God but our phone, internet & cable have been gone since Thursday!).  This is another one of the 'victory' columns from our local paper.  Hope you enjoy.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19

Seeds of bitterness are common to this earthly life; the sources are diverse but misunderstandings, harsh judgments and unloving actions are typical culprits. Those we love are the ones most able to sow seeds of bitterness into our hearts. To the delight of the enemy of our soul, we often allow the seeds to sink roots into our hearts, which simply produces more bitter seeds for others. The cycle is vicious but Jesus offers us a better way—a difficult way. Walk along with Dotty as she shares the blessing of the power of freeing grace and forgiveness into the life of another.

The experience is so common to each of us that perhaps the details do not even matter. As every mother knows, hurts imposed on our children are more grievous to us than anything directed at ourselves. Dotty’s daughters were the recipients of a harsh, unfair judgment that came with painful consequences. Her mother’s heart was furious; the emotion of wrath overwhelming. The seeds of bitterness sown took root, and vengeful words spewed forth—to the offender and all who would listen.

As the emotions settled in her heart and her girls, the light of Christ gently shone upon the results of those bitter roots. She covered the roots in her heart with justification: the offender needed to be accountable for her cruelty. Holding onto her grudge ‘excused’ her actions and gave Dotty comfort. Yes, she prayed, but she refused to release the event wholly to Christ’s control. It was more satisfying to retain her ‘power’ and refuse forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit was unrelenting and true peace unavailable. Four years after the event, Dotty finally submitted to what she knew was the Lord’s desire: a humble apology for her own actions without the covering of justification or blame. Humbly sharing her sorrow at missing the mark Jesus sets for each of His followers produced an immediate freedom for herself, a similar apology from the offender and ultimately, unexpected results through the restored relationship.

Freeing the Spirit of Christ to work through us requires ‘dying’ to our own rights and opinions. It is not pain-free but neither is holding onto anger. In Dotty’s case, the restored relationship led to an amazing ministry opportunity for her youngest daughter, which allows her to pursue her God-given passion for music.

Apologies do not always produce a complete reconciliation but they always free the one who releases anger! “Unforgiveness is the rat poison you drink hoping the other person will die,” says Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker. Today, consider if the Spirit is asking you to allow Him to flow through you into the life of another. Do not delay—obey and see what great things He has planned!

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