Healing is often blocked by unforgiveness.
Just a few months ago I met with a wise older woman who talked me through some hurt that was lingering from a bad transition I went through a few years ago. It was the right thing to move on but as transition often is, it got messy. I had already worked through the issue with the people involved at the time, really truly forgiving and letting go but sometime since that original forgiveness, I heard someone say that once trust is lost it takes time to earn it back.
This thought gave the enemy a window of opportunity and I let the self righteous prideful voice speak. You know the one. It said, “Yeah! They have to EARN my trust back now. Even though they asked for forgiveness and I had forgiven that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.” I let the nuance of that accusation against them reopen the wound growing back into bitter unforgiveness. All I knew was that it still hurt and I was stuck.
My wise mentor reminded me of the story from John 8 about the Pharisees who went to stone the adulterous woman. But Jesus after mysteriously drawing in the sand he stopped them by saying,
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
She went on to tell me that some Pharisees dropped their stones, but some threw them in anger wishing as they hit the ground, their stones had been directed at her still. The scariest and most disturbing, were those who hung onto their stones as they walked away. Not letting it go. Saving them to be thrown later.
She explained that the hurt I was feeling was because I was hanging onto a stone of accusation against the people involved. She shocked and challenged me by flatly saying,
“You can’t trust people. We put our trust in God alone. Only He is perfect.”
I realized that I had been putting more of my sense of worth or security in my standing with others than with what God says or how he gives me worth. “Imagine that Jesus is on one side of a scale.” She said. “What in all of creation could equal him? All the angels? All riches?”
It felt like a trick question. No obviously nothing is worth what Jesus is worth. She continued, “And yet, Jesus said that you are worth his putting on skin, living a pure life and for the joy set before him pain and sacrifice. Even death.
Jesus says the same about everyone’s worth. So if we begin to see others through Christ’s ascribed worth and love it makes it easier to forgive.
She asked me if I ever get angry at Josephine for messing her diaper. No of course not! “That’s what they did when they hurt you.” she explained, “They just messed their diapers.” She led me through a few prayers and I was able to let go of the stones I had been carrying. I’m so grateful for a safe coach to love me enough to help me walk through this. And most of all I’m humbled and grateful all the more for the continued working out of my salvation and the renewing of my mind through the love of Jesus. Profound freedom and joy are found in this Love.
Repentance and Forgiveness are very similar, in that we often need to say these prayers out loud with someone and making the choice to do so is not often in line with how we feel in that moment. But God honors when we choose to forgive and repent. In my experience He rushes in quicker than I think He should and gives freedom and all of it’s feelings after we choose to let go of those stones.
And I’m convinced that sometimes forgiving others and repentance are the same thing.
There’s always more to say more to learn. What are your thoughts on these things? That’s all for now- thanks for reading commenting and following!