Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-31, NIV) (Courtesy of biblegateway.com)
Forgiveness. It can sometimes be a hard thing to come by. Whether you are seeking forgiveness from someone, or forgiveness is something you are struggling to give. It can be as elusive as a unicorn. But unlike the mythical unicorn, forgiveness is available to all who seek it.
Forgiveness is a choice we make. You don’t just wake up one day and *poof* forgiveness is in your heart. You have to make the choice to lay down your anger. You have to make the choice to let go of those feelings of disappointment and brokenheartedness. You have to make the choice to let the wound heal instead of continuing to drown it the salt of negative feelings.
Anger, rage, hatred . . . these are all feelings that will eat you alive. They are so toxic to your heart and soul. They drag your spirit down so that all you know, all you can see, all you can hear, all you can feel is the anger festering inside of you like a disease.
Forgiveness does not mean that you have to let that person back into your life. It does not mean that you again have to open yourself up to however they hurt you. Forgiveness only means that you have made the choice to let that anger go, made the choice to stop letting it control you. You have made the choice to stop letting the past control your present. Forgiveness means you have made the decision to move on and look ahead of you.
Take a moment to picture someone that needs your forgiveness. Immediately your anger started to boil up, didn’t it? Like a pot of water on the stove, your anger will slowly start to heat up. Slowly at first, but in given time it will become a fierce, raging, rolling boil that can not be controlled until eventually all the water evaporates from the heat and the empty pot is left to burn on the stove. Your anger will boil and boil until you are left empty. To stop water from boiling all you have to do is turn off the heat. To stop your anger from eating you alive all you have to do is remove the source of the anger. Remove yourself from the heat. Give yourself time to cool down, and empty your heart of all the anger, rage, malice, and then forgive.
Such easy words to type, and to read. But you and I both know that forgiveness is difficult to give. We have been so badly hurt by someone that our natural inclination is to hold onto it because it gives us a sense of control over that person. “If I continue to hate them then I am hurting them as much as they hurt me.” But who is really controlling whom? What do you gain from being angry? How is your life improved by holding onto your rage? How is the love of Christ exemplified through you when you have hatred darkening your heart?
Anger fills up your heart so God can not find room to live there. When you choose to live with your anger, you are choosing to live without God in your heart. You are telling God that your anger is more important than He is. Despite everything you have done in your life, God forgives you. Can’t that same sentiment be extended to others from you?
Until next time . . .