I haven’t had to deal with forgiveness in my life very often. Although over the years I’ve had to forgive others from the petty to the paramount, more recently, I haven’t. Perhaps this lack of practice is what has made the current opportunity to forgive, so challenging.
Forgiveness isn’t challenging cerebrally. I’ve come to the place several times where I’ve reasoned and rationalized forgiveness. True and logical thoughts like the fact that people don’t usually intend to hurt us, that I’m wholly and completely imperfect, and that the Bible calls us to forgive seven times seventy times, has helped me forgive others,
But when I caught myself replaying my hurts or I when I realized I was dreading interacting with those I was struggling to forgive, I realized forgiveness can’t happen only in my head. When I turned to the Bible for help, it confirmed my epiphany; Jesus answered Peter’s question about forgiveness saying it must come “…from your heart” (Matthew 18:39b). Forgiveness that’s only cerebral doesn’t help me heal. It doesn’t give me peace. And although that epiphany explained a lot, it didn’t help me much. Although I want to forgive from my heart,
I don’t know how.
Last year the Lord began helping free me from people pleasing. He began replacing the lies I told myself, about myself, with who He said I was. I experienced greater freedom as I started to find my identity in Christ, instead of in my perception of how others saw me and how I defined my worth. Although I’m grateful for those lessons, I’m now learning in my struggle to forgive,
God wasn’t done.
The peace God wants to give us is inexhaustible. The joy He wants to give us will never be fully realized. An awareness of how high and deep and wide and long His love is for us, can never completely be discovered. As I’ve struggled to forgive others in my heart, I’ve realized part of my struggle stems from still worrying what others think of me. I still don’t value Christ’s voice above every other voice. I’m still finding my worth in things other than my identity in Christ. Why am I struggling to forgive from my heart? Because God knows I have room for more.
More peace, joy and more of His love.
How do we forgive others in our hearts? As usual, I don’t know.
Just as I practiced when I was learning to quit people pleasing, I’m clinging to my cactus. I’m continually asking God, with some reluctance and fear, to show me what lies I still believe about myself and conversely, for help believing more deeply who He is. And I’m in His Word, praying, listening and of course, impatiently waiting.
What keeps me motivated in the uncomfortable ritual of cactus clinging? I’ve experienced more. I’ve tasted more. I’ve seen the transformational impact of more on my heart, mind, and life. Why cling to my cactus in the difficult place of unforgiveness?
I want more.