Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Write It Off

In my role as a pastoral counselor, I've talked to hundreds and hundreds of men and women during the last decade.  And I think it's safe to say that between 90% - 95% of those who have sat with me, tissues in hand, are there because there's a forgiveness issue in some way, shape, or form in their lives.

It's hardly ever the 'presenting problem.'  The need to forgive is often disguised by a myriad of family problems, relationship challenges, church upheavals, or workplace issues.  Anger, depression, anxiety, or addictive behaviors are usually in the mix.  Bitter roots have taken up what looks to be permanent residence.  And in the process, the emotions, attitudes, personality, and health of these sad souls have taken a huge hit, slowly transforming the person into someone they never dreamed they'd become. 

It's not until the conversation goes much deeper that the root of all the turmoil clearly comes into view.  Someone besides Jesus Christ sits on the throne of their broken hearts, calling the shots, directing the traffic, running the show.  And the only way to unseat that unwelcome, destructive usurper is to make the seemingly impossible choice to forgive.

To 'forgive as the Lord forgave you' {Colossians 3:13}. 

The sad fact is that until we release those who have run roughshod over us and done us wrong, they will own us, lock, stock, and barrel, with an ugly stranglehold that refuses to be undone.  We will remain dreadfully stuck, mired in the quicksand of the unfortunate past.  Until we can send our perpetrators packing and move ahead with our own lives without constantly looking back and wringing our hands over what was, we will live as powerless victims.  

T.D. Jakes hits the nail on the head with 5 keys to forgiveness in his book Let it Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven.

'... doesn't mean that you didn't gain anything from the experience.  Often you have gained invaluable wisdom and discernment that will help you with future struggles.

... doesn't suggest that you weren't right about the abusive circumstances that led to the unforgiveness.  It simply means you have too much ahead of you to expend more energy looking back.

... doesn't mean that you are weak.  It takes a great deal of strength, hope, and faith to garner the courage to move beyond the breach.

... doesn't mean that you won't be compensated by some other opportunity ahead of you.  Many times I really believe that God compensates us with divine favor to balance our lives beyond what was done to us by others.

... helps you to gain a glimpse into what God does for us with our own sin.  We had a debt we couldn't pay.  God received payment from an outside source (Jesus Christ) and wrote it off even though we ourselves never made recompense for our transgressions.'

The one who wounded you along the way probably doesn't deserve forgiveness.  And might not even grasp that he needs it.  Or could care less about asking for it.  Chances are they've moved on and forgotten that they were offensive or hurtful or just plain sinful.  But if we want to move ahead and live life to the fullest, this is a step that's simply non-negotiable.

And by the way, the hardest person you might have to forgive is yourself.  For your own sinful choices, stupid decisions, or somehow betraying what you valued and held dear.

If you're tired of hauling your stuff around, please watch this short clip from Rob Bell's LUGGAGE video.  It just might be a game changer for you.

Take it from a forgiven forgiver.  Because in the end, it was the least I could do to honor the One who had forgiven me for so much ...


  1. This is a great post and I really needed it today. Very timely!

  2. I love God's timing!

    Thank you for letting me know that it hit home, Heather ...

    Blessings ...


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