Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Forgiveness

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14 & 15

These verses are marked and dated in my Bible. It was virtually life to me at one point and sure direction as to what I was supposed to do next. Forgiveness is not for the other person it is for you, for me. When we forgive we are released from the "death grip" of unforgiveness and bitterness. It doesn't mean we have to forget what happened, but we don't use it against that person or dwell on it any more. It is so freeing. When God led me to those verses many years ago, it was after I literally looked up to heaven and said "now what"? And HE sent me right to Matthew. I've been grateful ever since.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not as if I've never struggled to forgive since then. Hardly. But I understand the benefits of the commandments to forgive. I'd rather live in freedom than bitterness any day.

These days as I wrestle with forgiving different people in my life, I am again reminded to just choose forgiveness and walk without that burden. (as you know, walking is hard enough for me, let alone with the extra weight of unforgiveness...) Sorry, I digress. There are those that just say something "stupid" to me and I want to be angry. Others I think should be coming around and offering support. They don't. And I want to hold a grudge. My husband is choosing to walk away from his family (at least for this season) and, boy, do I want to get ugly. But who will that help? I may feel better for the moment, but that won't last.

IF my husband doesn't know Jesus, he needs to see me modeling Christ no matter the circumstance. Don's salvation should be more important to me than whether our marriage is saved, whether I get what's fair, whether he comes around and helps. My focus needs to change (once again) from me and my needs to Don and his need for the Savior. That's tough for me. My flesh cries out. But God is getting more and more of me these days and it's harder to block out His voice. I will still pray for the restoration of my marriage and our family. But I am committing to pray that Don will come to know The Healer to receive the healing he so desperately needs. We all need it though, don't we?

So, today I am going to choose forgivness. Wow, that feels good. I feel lighter already. God sure is a miracle worker because I love a good grudge. I've been praying for miracles. They're just coming in different forms. Although you should know I have been able to get out a little bit more and I am SO excited for that. God's doing a big work, I need to get out of the way and let Him.

Love,
-Sheryl


15 comments:

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Great words, Sheryl. I recently had a friend who wronged me say that she tries to forgive immediately. I disagree with that forgiveness is required to be immediate. Yes, the sooner the better because WE are released from the bondage. However, she was trying to imply that Jesus calls us to forgive immediately. I had previously expressed to her that I was not purposefully withholding forgiveness but that I didn't want to say I forgive you and then my action not follow that. I've never really been in a position outside of this past year to have to forgive, truly, anyone as I've never had any major wrong done to me to that degree outside of this year with my beloved, one of his family members, and this friend.

You are exactly right that the MOST important thing is Don and his relationship with Christ. HOWEVER, I believe that ONCE he calls upon Christ as Lord and he has that relationship right, THEN he will see the errro of his ways in your marriage and will seek forgiveness and restoration with you and your children.

I've taken that outlook with my beloved...praying for his walk with Christ (he is a Christian I know for sure without a doubt). But as I have in the past he has "fallen off the wagon". He's not seeing God in a true light. He's not hearing God's instructions because God would NEVER tell him to divorce which is contrary to God's Word...Andrew Woolmack spoke on that this morning.
Love,
Paula

Jenn at Casa de Castro said...

Sheryl, it's as if you're reading my thoughts! As the Lord ordained for me to share almost the very words you wrote with a young girl in the prison on Saturday, I've been pondering them ever since. Forgiving and forgetting as the world instructs us to do is not exactly the right equation. Forgive? Absolutely. Forget? Maybe not. By remembering the painful times, we are able to see the journey God has led us on as we work to forgive and realize our growth firsthand. And then we're able to encourage others as they walk through similar situations. Such power in forgiveness!

If other women in your circumstances could focus on the real urgency of the situation (Don's salvation), so many hurts could be healed and lives changed. I join you again in that prayer and believe the Lord will pursue Don constantly. What love you have shown in this way - putting his salvation above your own needs. The Lord will honor that.

Bless you, dear one.

Anonymous said...

Sheryl

I agree with you. There is such a burden lifted when we choose to forgive. In an instant, we can go from feeling resentment to feeling God's calming, loving arms when we choose to forgive.

Your journey continues to amaze me. It is fun to watch your outlook change here from week to week. Your life is headed for great things - even if they are not the things you initially expected or hoped for.

I am learning from you, Sheryl.

Denise in Texas

Kim said...

Sheryl~
I'm SO proud of you for sharing this post.

Forgiveness is often such a HARD thing and each of us deal/struggle with it. I for one, was handed a blow a little over a year ago and forgiveness did NOT come easy for me. The person who wronged me lied, and went on as though nothing happened.....and all the while, I was the "walking wounded".

Like you, I too can to realize that my being hurt didn't affect my former friend...but rather, it was affecting me.

Each time I start to feel that "hurt" feeling, I'm reminded of who truly carries my hurt and I must be willing to let him!!

I'm praying for you sweet friend, and I'm SO delighted to hear that you are able to get out!!! PTL.

Blessings sweet one.

Kim~

Jenn said...

Great insight! How hard it is for us to forgive those who hurt us. Especially those who do so continually.

DidiLyn said...

I have been catching up on blogs. Yours is marvelous and teaches me with each post you write.
I have to work on this forgiveness issue. Your learning helps me.
Still praying for you.

Yolanda said...

Sheryl....as Don is walking out (a season), and God is walking in....you are walking in and out....get it? You are moving little by little and wow.....what a miracle in and of itself. What a visual, what a picture of life in the Spirit....of what God is doing.

Man, oh man, You are going to get blessed, by hanging onto the TRUTH of God's word, not man's. Why? Because that is where we find FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love to you,
Yolanda

Suzanne said...

Hey Sheryl,

Great post and so true. I think that forgiveness is one of the greatest ways we show the love of Christ that is in us. You are being a shining example of that.

Yet again, reading your post this morning was one of the things that led me to continue on with my story. Thanks again.

Love in Christ,

Suzanne :)

Technonana said...

Oh Sweet Girl!!! To know the TRUTH and let it set you free!!! This is a life lesson... because it frees you TO LIVE!!! You are no longer a prisoner to unforgiveness!!! As Beth Moore says "Grace as you have been graced." Then leave the rest to GOD!!!
You know I'm here lifting you up before the Throne of Grace. OUR LORD IS AWESOME!!!

Mary said...

Sheryl, I again appreciate your comments on my blog and I truly appreciate your honest feelings being shared on forgiveness. And others that left comments.

I thought about Corrie ten Boom telling about the guard in prison that had beat her sister. Later he was saved and put his hand out to shake her hand and ask forgiveness. She thought about her sister and said, "Lord, I can't but You can through me." And she felt God's love and forgivness flowing in her heart as she reached out her hand to him, with forgiveness.

I have found when I have been very, very hurt by someone, I start praying for them every day and asking God to bless them, to help them and pray in a positive manner. At first I feel like I'm not being honest in my feelings but then God begans to work on my heart and soon I REALLY do feel love, I REALLY do want God to bless them, etc. He changes me!
That is what I call, glorious freedom!

Joni said...

Hi, Sheryl. I thought I'd respond to your comment on my blog here. Just wanted to say I hope the verses help. I'd also like to share something that helped me and still helps me forgive those who've hurt me. I remember that sin is sin--no one sin is greater than another. And if Christ forgives me every day of my sins, how can I not forgive others? I'll never deserve God's unconditional grace and mercy and yet He extends it to me. How can I not be gracious and merciful to those who hurt me? I come from an abusive background. I KNOW it's not easy to forgive, but our relationship with Jesus makes it possible--and necessary. "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."Matthew 6:15 (NASB) How soon do I want my Father to forgive me when I sin against Him? Immediately. How soon should I forgive others? Immediately. Because it's just not worth losing one second of fellowship with Jesus. (It also helps to know that David says in Psalms that God takes up our cause. He's our Daddy and He WILL make things right when we trust in Him, but according to His timetable, not ours.)

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Sheryl, A well known pastor talked about forgiveness in a way I will never forget. We can find all the reasons why we need to forgive, but when I heard him say..

When we choose not to forgive, it's like telling the Lord all that he did and went through on the cross for us did not matter. Even the words that he spoke when he said: Father forgive them for they know not what they do. I know forgivness is hard to do at times,but are we saying that all that Jesus went through was not hard? I loved that sermon and it has always stayed with me.

I know I have been in the bondage of unforgiveness and while I was upset with someone, that person went on with their life not even thinking about me or what they did to me. Who ended being stuck in life, well "me" of course. So I choose not to be stuck anymore, it's no fun place to be. This was a great post.. Hugz Lorie

His Girl said...

yah. a big ol' lesson- apparently for us both.

praise the Lord we get to learn from Example :)


funny that we are on the same page- just confirmation that He knows what He's doing, isn't it?

Melanie said...

Wow.. what a great post, Sheryl! Forgiveness is such an important aspect of our Christian walk. This post really spoke to me this evening. I need to work on this myself.

How wonderful that you are making this a priority for prayer for Don and praying for his salvation. I think you are right that this is even more important than saving your marriage. And, it just may be, that thru salvation he will see the importance and the love his family has for him.

I pray you have a blessed weekend.

Tightening the Corset Again said...

What if the beauty that comes from the ashes is Don's salvation and not the restoration of your marriage? wow...