Here I am, sitting still while my toes nail polish dries. I only use polish when I have a special occasion to attend. This weekend we have a neice getting married. Most of the family will be there. Sadly, one family is angry with a couple siblings, and probably won’t come so as not to bump into them. Another will be there, but holds a grudge against a couple. Another will be there and is bitter about the whole debacle that set these things in motion.
Family gatherings are awkward with this side. I pray that there can be forgiveness for perceived wrongs and restoration of relationships, but to date, that has not happened. And so we gather. If the conversation comes up, my honey and I try to steer people towards forgiving, letting go of bitterness, resentment and anger.
During my divorce, many years ago, I prayed, and asked God to show me what part I had played in my husband’s discontent and subsequent affair. I don’t remember how the answer came, but the prayer was answered immediately. God reminded me of a humiliating incident that happened during the early years of our marriage. It was completely unintentional, and I responded improperly. I won’t go into details. But I remembered thinking to myself that I would never let him do that to me again, whereas I should have shared my emotions with him and dealt with it immediately. I had hardened my heart towards my husband and was harboring unforgiveness. I repented, asking God to cleanse my heart of the hardness. After, I went to my husband and confessed my sin to him and asked him to forgive me. He flew off the handle, saying I wasn’t to blame, this was all him, and more. My apology was not received. I chose to forgive him for the perceived humiliation, which he never intended, and I was at peace, knowing that I had done the right thing.
Sometime in the past year, I clicked on a Facebook video someone posted. There was a gentleman talking about forgiving. He stated that forgiveness is not for the benefit of the other person, it is for our freedom. He illustrated this by holding a one liter soda bottle in his hand with his arm outstretched. He said that in the beginning, that wrong that we hold onto isn’t a big deal, not very heavy. But hold it long enough, and it becomes a burden, wearying the arm muscles, until cramping begins and eventually it will involuntarily drop from ones grasp. Kinda like those endurance challenges on the reality show Survivor. In order US to be free, WE must let go of the wrongs others may perpetrate against us.
We also need to realize that the person who wronged us may be holding sorrow or guilt in their hearts about the wrong, but is paralyzed or doesn’t know they should ask for forgiveness. Who knows, if our asking for forgiveness for the way we responded to the wrong, may set someone else free to ask forgives for the wrong they perpetrated.
Today, set your heart free by choosing to forgive, even if forgiveness is not asked for. May you come to know the joy of walking in true freedom.