A few years ago I was asked to speak at a women’s meeting and to bring, “Just seven to ten minutes on the topic of forgiveness.” Easy, right? There are possibly hundreds of books written on that topic and I was asked to sum it up in ten minutes or less. It wasn’t as difficult as it might have been, though, because I’ve wrestled with the subject a lot and have a definite viewpoint. I am at a place in my faith journey where I no longer feel that I have any entitlement to judge or withhold forgiveness from those who might cause me pain.
I believe every experience God allows into my life is for my good and His glory. Whether joyful or pain-filled, God has decided to let me have the experience as a gift. He walks with me, if I let Him, in the good times and bad, gently pointing out the lessons and blessings in each day. When I remember to look for the lessons and blessings in even the minutia of my life, I have no time to worry about blaming anyone for my hurts. I try to remember that we all have, either willfully or inadvertently, caused others pain. In that respect, we are no different than those who hurt us.
Sometimes we may feel that God is the one who needs our forgiveness, since He could prevent our injuries. When someone we love is suffering or dies, it is very difficult to look for God’s blessing unless we remember that God’s perspective is different from ours. He suffers with us and yearns to comfort us, but has an eternal view point that places the greatest importance on our spiritual growth and well-being.
Loss always hurts. Loss of health, wealth, loved ones, pride, or possessions all cause various levels of physical or emotional anguish. We cannot avoid these things as we walk through this “valley of death” that is our mortal existence. But our God is with us. The words of the 23rd Psalm speak of the lessons and the blessings of our walk, “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (a lesson), “He anoints my head with oil” (a blessing).
Whether you feel offended by others or even by God Himself, let go of your “right” to judge and hold grudges and you may find a new world of blessings and spiritual growth.
It is not always the easy choice, but I believe it is always the right one.
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