Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Forgiveness

My sister and I live about 30 minutes from each other. Until this summer, we had not spoken in 5 years. I won't go into the details mainly because I don't know all the details. This all occurred when she was visiting my grandmother before Katrina. My mom and other family was there but I was not. After "the incident", she quit speaking to my mom and I.

One day in my car I was listening to James MacDonald teach on Philemon. This sermon convicted me so much that I started writing my sister weekly letters. I encouraged her to face the truth, confess the truth, and forgive her family. I think I wrote her 7 or 8 letters before she replied. She sent the letters back to me numbered and with a letter of her own. She stated that she did not want to receive any more letters from me and that maybe I should take them and apply them to my own heart.

At first I was mad. I mean seething mad. Then I was hurt, disappointed and still mad. Some things take a long time to get over. This is taking years.

I thought I was over it. I thought I had worked through all the emotions associated with this. I thought I had forgiven her. Then I saw her. God has a way of showing you things about yourself that you just plain don't want to face. However, if you are to grow in your walk with Him, you must face who you are and how He sees you. Realizing that I still harbor some of these same emotions was devastating to me. I felt like I had not grown in my knowledge of God at all.

I can be a stubborn woman. I used to pride myself on this quality until I learned what God though about it. 1Samuel 15:23 Sometimes I think that God has to break out the 3lb. sledge just for me. lol Now I am trying to be a woman of humility and virtue. Not an easy thing I might add.
God is still talking to me about forgiveness. Lately, that is all I am hearing or reading about. It is driving me crazy! lol But on the upside I have learned a lot about unforgiveness and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a choice. It is a conscious decision to release the person from the obligation that resulted when they injured me. To forgive a person is to treat them as though the offense never happened. This is where I stumble. How do you treat someone as though they never hurt you?
You can't without God's help.

Forgiveness is a "crisis and process". The crisis is recognizing unforgiveness as a sin. It is confession and repentance before God. The process is beginning to live out your forgiveness. Don't bring it up to them, to others, or to myself. If I fail in the process, I have to go back to the crisis. Over time, with God's help I can let this go. I just hope I am not on my death bed before it happens. lol

Forgiveness has no limits. How can I put limits on something for others that God has said I should put no limits on (Mt 18:21-35)? I am the slave in this parable. God does not lightly dismiss my sin but has allowed for payment of my sin through His Son. This is what keeps me on my knees. I cannot be unaffected by this fact. I will never understand the mercy of God. But I am trying to live my life in such a way that His mercy towards me is projected through me to others.

"Like acid on your spirit is unforgiveness to your soul". I really relate to this quote by MacDonald. That sums up what unforgivenes does to you. It destroys relationships, causes physical and mental stress and illness. When I think of all the years I lived on bitterness and anger because of unforgiveness, I start to cry. I have wasted a lot of my life because of this. But I am learning and God does restore. So now I have hope. I know now that I cannot afford to pay what unforgiveness costs.

I know that with God's help I will eventually come to the point where I can truly say I have forgiven my sister. But I also know that until she and I can talk and she accepts responsibility for her actions as I have done, there can be no reconcillation between us. This is my prayer now. That I can truly forgive and she can recognize that the past is baggage that prohibits your growth and it should stay in the past. If you tell a person you forgive them for past transgressions be sure that you do. Your life will show the truth.

2 Comments:

  1. Sarah said...
    I have never had a hard time forgiving and forgetting, until recently. I was hurt badly by someone whom I should have been able to trust. Someone I went to in a desperate time of need, just looking for a caring ear. I poured out all my problems and all my worries to this person. Turns out he really didn't care, and I feel like I was just a bother to him.

    I forgave my ex boyfriend for walking away from me and our baby when I was 18 years old. I forgave my husband for problems he caused in our marriage. I have forgiven family and friends both for mistakes made as well as for blatant insults.

    I cannot forgive this man. Maybe I just expected too much from him because of the position he is in, but I just can't let it go.

    I hope you can mend you relationship with your sister. Family is so important.
    Brian said...
    I can easily forgive, but have a very difficult time forgetting. I hope you can work things out with your sister.

    Take Care,
    Brian

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