Day 11- Forgiveness
Author: Joel Reed
In 2015, during a time of prayer and reflection, I invited the Lord to search my heart and show me if there was anything in me that displeased him (anything that the Holy Spirit wanted to remove from my life). He responded instantly, and to my surprise he showed me a root of unforgiveness. Specifically, I had been harboring unforgiveness toward two men in my life. One was a former colleague and the other a family member. I wrestled with this for a few minutes (it felt like an hour) because, in my eyes, I had been legitimately mistreated by these men. I questioned why God would want me to revisit my feelings and opinions toward them. By my standards, I was right in my judgement and believed that I had a right to feel the way I did. But, the Holy Spirit was urging me to let go of my earthly rights so that he could give me a heavenly inheritance.
Mark 11:25 tells us that we are to "forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your father also who is in heaven may forgive you." A similar message is found in Matthew 6:12. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." And 1 John 1:9 teaches that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us."
If we want to be forgiven by our heavenly Father, then we have to obey his command to forgive those who have wronged us. We must confess our sin of unforgiveness and then make the willful decision to love our offender as Christ loves us.
After hearing from the Lord, we really only have two choices. We can dismiss what we heard as unreasonable or unfair and keep our earthly rights (reproducing the same sin). Or we can submit to His higher call and receive the forgiveness and favor of the Lord (breaking the cycle of un-forgiveness).
So, I asked for God's forgiveness for my sin and prayed for both of my offenders. A weight was lifted from me and I felt genuine love for them. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me one last command. I called the men and asked for their forgiveness.
Father, search my heart. Remove anything in me that is not of you. Today I choose to live by faith. With your help, I will not let bitterness or un-forgiveness take root in my life but will generously give forgiveness to everyone.