PHOTO BY JODIE BRIM
I often sit facing wounded hearts that feel so stuck in their present predicament. They yearn to move forward but feel entrenched in quicksand, sinking beneath the weight of the load they carry. They keep bare, deep wounds that continually bleed from something someone said or did that felt especially personal. (Usually only those closest to us possess this kind of access, so the offense seems particularly painful.)
We feel completely justified in our heartache. (Perhaps we are!) So, we nurse those open wounds in a way that only drives the infection deeper. We unconsciously coddle these abscesses instead of doing the hard work of forgiving. (Did she just say that?)
I surely don’t write this from a place of perfection. I’ve grappled in my own battles over forgiveness. TRULY! Let’s be real: forgiveness is never easy, NEVER! Our obsessive compulsion to keep score only increases our inner turmoil. Hear me! Our harboring of the offense does nothing to make the person pay for what they did. NOTHING! It only punishes US!
In fact, unforgiveness is a form of pride. (There she goes again! WHAT?!) We zero in on someone else’s wrongs while completely overlooking our own. We ignore (or forget) the grace God extravagantly extends to us in the midst of our own messes. Subsequently, our whole perception of justice becomes skewed from our fixated point of view.
Did you know that unforgiveness is one of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer? When I protect that wound too long, it becomes poison in my soul. It builds a barrier between God and me. “If I close my eyes to my sin [un-forgiveness], God will close His ears to my prayer.” (Psalm 66:18)
Sometimes we get so frustrated, even ticked at God, because we feel certain that He’s just not listening. We begin to assume He doesn’t give a rip about our desperation. If He did, He would surely do something about that thing, right? (You know you’ve felt this way.)
Friend, we’ve got it all wrong. It’s not in God’s nature to be anything but good. He’s a doting Father. But God has established certain guidelines that cultivate answered prayer. He says emphatically that un-forgiveness sabotages prayer! God will go to great lengths to bless His children, but know this: He will never violate His own Word to accommodate ours.
What wounds are you unconsciously harboring? At this very moment, these concealed sores undermine your healing, while the one who hurt you sails right by you, unaffected by the poison you carry.
Can we pause for a moment? Can we recall the ridiculous forgiveness God has lovingly, unceasingly extended in our direction? In this awakened awareness of His unrestrained and excessive mercy, God gives us the capacity to let that bitterness go. Our release of “it” releases us from the prison our poison erected.
This forgiveness is NOT about the person who hurt you, NOT. AT. ALL! This is about YOU! It’s time for you to take the hand of the One who reaches to rescue you from the quicksand and walks with you out of your prison into His promises! From that place of freedom, I dare you…Pray and watch God move!
For comments or prayer, please contact Dr. Lanier at www.HopeCommunityChurch.tv.