Do you have a laundry list? Not one that can be washed and dried, but one that is never ending. Can you list off all the wrongs that your husband has done against you? How about your children or that one lady at church? The human mind has a hard time forgetting wrongs that are done against them. We are all about justice and fairness. Whether we admit it or not, we want people to get what they deserve. We as humans have a hard time offering mercy to others, but deeply desire it to be given to ourselves. My husband likes to quote an old saying, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and then waiting for the other person to die.”
I think keeping records of wrongs can be closely tied to being easily angered. In my life they seem to go hand in hand. When I keep tallies of the things people have done to me, I begin to block my ability to walk in kindness and love towards them. My anger fuse gets shorter and shorter, to the point where I can easily blow up or act in ways that I shouldn’t.
In one commentary it says, “love does not reckon the evil.” It is almost like it is impossible for you to remember the wrong that has been done to you. When we keep no record of wrong, we give everyone, including our husband and children, a clean start each and every day. We give them a gift of love that is similar to the gift God gave us so long ago. Praise God that He is so willing to wipe our slate clean each and every time we ask for forgiveness. He gave us the gift of reconciliation and desires for us to offer the same gift to others.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
This is where I envy my husband’s waffle brain. He has this amazing ability to put a wrong deed into a box and shut the door. He is able to forget that door even existed and move on down the hallway. My spaghetti brain has a habit of intertwining things, making it too difficult or too painful to remove the offense from the situation or emotion. I so often can find myself getting historical, recalling the laundry list of wrongs that have occurred as far back as I can remember. Then I use those past events to draw conclusions of how the future will play out.
My husband has to gently remind me that it is unfair to bring the past into the present. He points out the importance of forgiving and the freedom that can come with letting it go. No matter what others have done to me, I have a choice to make. I can walk in unforgiveness and allow it to form a bitter root. Or I can offer forgiveness and enjoy the freedom of allowing God to work all things out for good. It is a decision and the good thing is it is something that I can control.
I was challenged by Jesus’ words that He spoke as He hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) He had just suffered an unspeakable injustice and in love begged His Father to forgive them.
Am I willing to offer forgiveness to those that have wronged me? If I allow the love of Christ to dwell in me, I will have the strength to do it!
This week’s assignment:
1.) Ask God to reveal those people in your life that you have a laundry list of wrongs written against.
2.) Look up scriptures on forgiveness and unforgiveness.
3.) Ask God to help you take that first step towards forgiving them
4.) For extra help see John Bevere’s book called “The Bait of Satan”