In the midst of our conversation Jim made the remark, "I can tell you the day that things changed between you and (blank)." In that split second a conversation from 2006 ran through my mind...and I knew the exact time for myself. Jim thought it was something that happened two years ago, but I knew that it had building for much longer than that.
Being my stubborn self, I fought it for another thirty minutes or so as we discussed details...but I was finally able to admit to Jim that I needed to forgive the hurtful thing that had been said.
Fast forward to Saturday night.
I was still struggling with what I knew I had to do. I looked up verses regarding forgiveness. I began journaling...and it all poured out of the end of my pen. The hurt. The anger. The resentment. The bitterness. The unforgiveness. I knew that this was hurting me more than the person who had offended me.
I also knew that forgiveness was commanded...making this a choice that I had to make.
I asked the Lord to help me to do the hard work that was before me because I truly don't know how to let it go. I asked Him to remind me when I was tempted to dredge up the past that I had decided to forgive. I asked Him to eventually be able to feel what right now I was doing out of pure obedience. I asked Him to forgive me for the ways I had acted out against this person. And I asked Him to show me how to obey.
From my journal (unedited): I don't know how to proceed -- so please guide me.
And on Sunday morning, He answered.
I knew it as soon as the sermon title was placed on the big screen. The Gospel of Relationships(How do we love someone we don't like?) - Romans 14:13 - 15:7.
And just in case I thought about ignoring it...the outline:
- Stop condemning (passing judgment).
- Stop putting stumbling blocks & hindrances in the way.
- Start pursuing that which makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.
- Start to bear with the failings of the weak.
- Start pleasing others more than yourself.
- Start praying for harmony.
- Start welcoming each other.
I know that these are instructions for the church body, but they ring with the truth of my situation as well.
I also know "this isn't going to be easy...in fact I think it may be one of the most difficult of my life...but with You all things are possible and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (prayer journal entry)
If the Lord should bring me mind in the days ahead, I would certainly covet your prayers.
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
I'm joining Michelle over at Graceful for "Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday"...and in this case on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday, etc.