If your phone slips out of your hand, your natural instinct is to try and catch it before it hits the floor. If you accidentally burn yourself, your natural instinct is to pull away from the source of heat. How natural and automatic those instincts are…to protect ourselves from a burn or our phones from cracking, I believe is how natural it is to protect ourselves from being hurt by others. And sometimes that protection comes in the form of a sin called, unforgiveness.
I thought forgiveness wouldn’t be difficult for me because I know God can’t forgive me until I forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15), and I have quite a few sins, so I need him to forgive me, OKAY?! Or so I thought…previously, there was a period in my life where “grudge” was my middle name. I’ve hated people…I mean “hated”…people before. But one day I had a little talk with Jesus (more like a life-changing intervention) and made it right.
Then one day, years later, I felt wronged by someone I loved. I still loved them so I figured that meant I automatically forgave them, until I realized I didn’t. My attitude showed it, my negative thoughts proved it, and my heart was trying to hide it. I prayed to God about this and I told Him I just wasn’t ready to forgive them yet.
In reality, I realized by not forgiving this person I was holding a grudge and I became so mad at myself. How did I turn back into the old me…the person I fought so hard to undo. Then it hit me. The reason why I didn’t want to forgive this person is because it would make me vulnerable again, soft, open to feel, a sponge to absorb. By holding onto this grudge, I thought I could stay strong, independent, untouchable, a brick wall. My natural instinct was to protect myself, which I thought I could do by not forgiving them…oh but was I wrong.
Unforgiveness was eating me alive little by little. Not only was it eating me alive, but it was destroying the connection with this person that I so called loved. But love is not what I was displaying through unforgiveness. It was the complete opposite.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Me: “BUT GOD, what if I forgive this person and they do me wrong again? If I continue to not forgive them then the next time won’t hurt so bad because my guard will still be up. I mean wouldn’t you keep your guard up God if you knew someone was going to hurt you?”
God: “You must of forgot that I knew Judas, one of my 12 disciples, was going to betray me with a kiss (Luke 22:48). Or that I knew Peter, who also walked by my side, was going to deny me 3 times (Luke 22:54-62). Also, when you have asked me for forgiveness, did I ever respond to you and say, “I’m not ready yet?”
Forgive them. Don’t wait a second longer. Do it for yourself and the love that God has commanded you to have for that person. Unforgiveness will just keeping breaking that bond that you may long to keep. It doesn’t protect you…our natural instincts may tell us that it does but no sin will protect us. Make it right…even if you didn’t make it “wrong.” Xoxo.