Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
Writing Challenge Day 3: Forgiveness
Scripture References: Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 6:12
I could be dead. Each time I think about an offense that I am still nursing, and not ready to let go of, I remind myself that I could be dead.
Actually, I was dead.
I was counted among the walking dead.
The only reason I have breath in me is because of the Cross, the Great Exchange. I was dead, in sin, but the sacrifice of the Christ resuscitated me. His [temporary] death gave me life. A real life. A full and abundant life. A life that came with a clean slate, a do-over like none other. He did that for me.
Metaphorically, my transgressions, from the smallest to the greatest, were erased with His bloodshed. God saw fit to let me get it right, and He forgave me, too.
I can hear my Grandmother Sarah praising God for “…those great twins Mercy and Grace.” Those twins are my frequent companions. I screw things up with my eyes closed. But God knows that; He anticipates my shortcomings, my failures. He’s faithful to all of His promises, and that includes forgiveness. That’s why He sends those great twins my way each day to exhibit the durability and steadfastness of His love.
My daily ration of much-needed mercy reminds me that I have no right to hold unforgiveness toward anyone, myself included. If He can forgive me, I can forgive others, right?
Forgiveness is not always so easy though, is it? There is no blink of an eye, or wave of a magic wand to relieve us of the anger, pain, humiliation, fear, insecurity, or sadness that offenses cause us to feel. But we have a Helper and Comforter in the Holy Spirit; I cannot count the number of times I have had to ask Him to help me to forgive an offender. It’s. Just. Not. Easy.
I remember I once carried unforgiveness for someone who had been exceptionally unkind toward me. I allowed anger and despise for her to nest in my heart. This want on for eight years until I learned that she died a couple of years earlier. The woman was not even alive any more, and here I was seething with anger! That’s crazy. My despise of her did me no good—and it certainly didn’t affect her life.
What a huge waste of my spirit, and a bigger disappointment for God.
Remember that part of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew?: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
When I find myself struggling with forgiving someone, I think of that verse. I cannot possibly ask God to look past my transgressions–and there are many–when I dare carry hatred or anger in my heart for someone. I know my unforgiveness breaks His heart just as my other sins do. Ultimately, unforgiveness blocks my prayers and, more important, my intimacy with God.
The enemy’s illusions and mind tricks make us feel that we have a right to withhold mercy. After all, God knows how deep our pain goes, He understands. It is okay if we don’t speak to someone, smile at someone, or if we plot pay back. We’ll show them. The problem is we’re only showing the enemy that we are complicit with and in agreement with his tactics.
Satan’s illusions are subtle but they’re powerfully disruptive. Think about it. When we hold forgiveness, we deter our blessings, we hinder our prayers, we damage our relationship with the Lord, and we, ultimately, harm ourselves spiritually, emotionally and even physically.
Offense often brings pain that cuts deeply and stings long; but the pain of not releasing mercy is much greater.
There is no triumph in unforgiveness, at least not for the Believer.
Check out this song, “A Heart That Forgives” by Kevin Levar. It will bless you.