Forgiving someone sets you free from slavery to that person... but fervently praying for and blessing them, helps set them free!
Recently, I've come to realize that I have a problem with unforgiveness, as well as allowing my emotions to get the best of me. In my opinion the two go hand and-hand. I realized that I had a problem with unforgiveness because when someone hurt me, I would say that I forgave them-- but as soon as they did something else to hurt me, I would bring up past situations. If I had truly forgiven someone of the past, I wouldn't condemn them for it in the present, even if they've managed to hurt me again in the same exact way.
Yesterday, I watched Bishop T.D. Jakes' sermon called "Let It Go," and because of it, I gained a lot of understanding about my unforgiveness. In one part of the sermon, Bishop Jakes said, "Unforgivess is like me drinking poison and waiting on someone else to die!" When he said this, a light bulb went off in my mind and I began to understand just what he meant. It does NOTHING to them, but EVERYTHING to me! There have been times in my life where I've been so angry with people, to the point that the anger I had for them was able to ruin my entire day. The crazy thing is, while I walk around pouting and upset, the very person I held a grudge against, was likely going about their business, paying me no mind. As I thought about this, I knew some things were about to change, not because I hoped they would, but because I made my mind up that they would!
There is no way you can get to the next level God has for you, without opening your heart and truly forgiving those who have hurt you. Not forgiving someone causes you more pain than the situation that brought you to the point of unforgiveness; it takes a lot out of you, instead of you just forgiving whoever hurt you and letting God deal with the rest.
Funny how Christ paid the ultimate price for us to be forgiven, yet we find it hard to forgive others.
While watching T.D. Jakes' sermon, he helped me understand that some people didn't purposely do things to hurt me. As a result of bad decision(s) some people make, other people sometimes become unintentional victims of their wrongdoings. I really need you to think about this. Don't always look at someones actions and say "that really hurt me," instead think about the effect that it had on them. Our own selfish minds allow us to believe that because we have been affected by someone else's wrongdoings, they set out to hurt us. I pray to God right now to change our frame of thinking, and to help us see that we have also made bad decisions, not to purposely hurt anyone else, but as a result of our actions, others were affected.
It's hard for me to understand how we can be so critical when analyzing others, but when it comes to self-analysis, our records tend to be as clear as a whistle.
In Genesis 37 of the bible, there was a young boy named Joseph, who was favored by his father. This caused his other brothers to hate him. One day Joseph dreamed that all his brothers, as well as his father, would bow down before him. When he told his brothers his dream, it gave way for more hatred against him. Joseph's brothers decided to sell him to Egyptians so he would no longer be favored by his father, but when he got to Egypt, he was shown favor, even in captivity. This was because God was with him. There came a point where the king of Egypt had a dream and needed interpretation. Joseph was the only one who could interpret his dream, and as a result of the dream, and the interpretation thereafter, Joseph was made governor of Egypt. When a famine came about, people from all over the world, came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph. Among those who came to buy food, were Joseph's brothers. His brothers bowed down to him, and didn't even know it was Joseph. Joseph's dream came true and they were bowing down to him. When he revealed himself to his brothers, he did not condemn them, but forgave them and showed them undeserved grace, by moving his entire family to Egypt and sharing with them all of his riches. He told his brothers that he forgave them because it was in God's plan for him to come to Egypt to save lives.
After I finished reading about Joseph, I realized God was telling me the same thing. He was illustrating to me that even though people have hurt me, I am still to forgive them because the very hurt they caused me, is made up by His love and grace. I understand that everything that happens in my life is a part of God's providential plan for me, and even those things that seem to be setbacks, are SETUP'S for something GREATER!
Guess what... I'm in a forgiving mood today, and I dare YOU to join me! Remember, true freedom comes from loving and forgiving EVERYONE, no matter how difficult it may be.
Let's end with a prayer:
Father God, we thank you for Your love and Your undeserved grace. Right now we come before You believing in the change that is currently taking place within us. God we ask that what You do for us, we might do for others... including FORGIVING! We understand that we cannot get to where You have called us to be, unless we have a heart like Yours. Right now, God, let us embrace Your love and give it abundantly to others, as You have given it to us. We WILL walk the righteous path of forgiveness and bring others along with us. We thank You for the wisdom You have given us, and we hope to always be led by it. In Jesus' name. Amen!