The Accidental Pharisee

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It Don't Come Easy

"Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness." ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I am about to share a less than wonderful truth about myself.
Forgiveness does not come easily to me.
It is easier for me to hold a grudge than it is for me to forgive someone.
I have on occasion said that unforgiveness is an heirloom passed down in my family from generation to generation.
So, you see, I had my reasons for being unforgiving. I was born and bred to it.
And then I became a believer. By choice. No one forced me to believe the truth of who God is and how he reconciled me to himself through the death of his son, Jesus.
Over time, I realized things had to change. I had to change.
Following God meant learning to forgive.
Talk about dying to myself. To the way I wanted to do things.
I wanted to hold onto hurts--heart wounds--and never, ever forgive the persons who had hurt me.
And I felt justified in my unforgiveness.
I just didn't feel very Christlike. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see the image of God. I saw an angry, unforgiving woman.
Not a pretty sight.
I remember one day when I, once again, wrestled with forgiving someone. I fell to my knees beside my bed and buried my head in my arms.
"God, I can't do this!"
Do you know what God said to me--in that inner soft voice you hear in your heart?
"I know you can't. Let me help you forgive."
I stayed on my knees and cried. God knew I couldn't forgive--even though I wanted to. And, you know what? He still loved me and wanted to help me do what I couldn't. Amazing grace, isn't it?

Just Thinking Out Loud: We Accidental Pharisees aren't very good at forgiveness. First, we act like we don't need any. We pretend to be "practically perfect in every way" a la Mary Poppins. And we don't like offering forgiveness to others. Why is that? Maybe because it demands relationship. Maybe because it requires grace. Maybe because when we forgive we look more like God and less like ourselves.



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