By Greg Aitkens
We often think about offenders from our past lives. We begin to feel emotions like anger and resentments again. These thoughts come out of nowhere. We ask ourselves, “why are these showing up again now?” Pretty soon, we are mired down in the “stuff” of the past:
- We remember rancor, hostility, animosity and fights with others…
- We recall harsh words said( or yelled) in anger. They were directed at us!
- We clearly recall pain, hurt and damages done to us.
- We may feel trapped or stuck again— like being in a prison.
- We replay our “grievance story”— to ourselves and to others.
- We resort to our old mode of judgments, contempt and criticism of our offenders.
- We think again about our vow to “not forgive” our offenders. We may mutter to ourselves, “what they did to me was unforgiveable!”
- We feel resentment and bitterness toward our “old enemies”. We are still holding a grudge
- We may be still plotting revenge. We mutter to ourselves, “I will get this___, if it’s the last thing I ever do!”
We feel bad about how all this old venom has crept back into our lives. We feel exhausted thinking about all this again. We ask ourselves, “Isn’t there a way out of all this? How can I have my well-being restored? How can I experience joy in my life again?”
As a Result of Unforgiveness, we may Act Out! Our ANTICS might include:
- Masking our pain in overuse of alcohol or drugs
- We may over-eat and gain lots of weight, and we are not sure why
- We may be rude, curt or cantankerous with others, especially those closest to us
- We might be vicious, nasty, negative and complain a lot
- Nothing is ever “good enough”
- We are pessimistic, critical, skeptical or cynical about everything and everyone
- We are “set off” (angered) very easily over minor life events
- We need to exert control over everything around us, and we feel entitled— that as a result of being hurt, the world owes us. We intend to get all we can
- We do not accept criticism well… everyone is just out to get us.
We are saying to ourselves, “Well, all this can’t be good. Look at how miserable I am. What am I to do?” Or, we may be in denials about ourselves and not even realize we are doing all these things which are damaging to us
We hear a gentle whisper saying… Allow Me to take over! Our Lord is gently saying:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened— who are carrying heavy weights around on your shoulders, who find life so burdensome. I will refresh you. I will restore you and remove all these bags of rocks you’ve been dragging around for so many years. I will help you regain your peace and well-being. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. I have been exactly where you are now! I am gentle and humble of heart. Your soul will find rest and I will help you to Be Set Free. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (See Matthew 11:28-30)
- Submit and Surrender to My methods for you. You no longer have to feel that forgiving others is solely up to you. Let me assist you. Allow My Holy Spirit to convince you of what is needed. Allow Me to soften your heart. (See Ezekiel 36;25-27)
- In my name, you can Expel and Rebuke all the nasty and devious tactics of the evil one. Please DO put on My Armor.( See Ephesians 6:10-20)
- Allow My Holy Scriptures to teach you and remind you of My ways in forgiving. They provide such powers in Healing. Study them daily. (See Colossians 3:12-15)
- In sober honesty, come to Me in confession, to admit and be honest about your own sins of judgment, hatred, resentments, or bitterness towards others. These come from the evil one. Resist and Reject the tactics of evil! (See James 4:7-10)
- Please remember that I will amend, atone and judge all mankind. I will hold everyone accountable for their sins. I’m aware of every harsh word or sinful action against you. I was there and saw every one of the offenses against you. In many cases… “they knew not what they were doing”( See Luke 23:34) (Matthew 16:27)
- Allow Me to train you up as My disciple, and equip you with My compassion, mercy and love for others—especially those who have offended you, or hurt you. (See Ephesians 4:31-32)
- Allow Me to provide you the willingness, the desire, and the courage to forgive. I will provide you all the strength you will need! (See John 16:33) (Psalm 46:1-3)
What do we GAIN in forgiving?
- We are set free from the bondage and shackles of past failed relationships. We do not forget what happened, however, all the ugliness just slips away. We can more easily focus on today.
- Our well-being is restored! It’s as if we’ve been released from prison after many years of incarceration.
- We become grateful to God for what happened. We have been put through the “refiner’s fire”, the tough stuff of life. Through God’s Grace, we’ve come out the other side! We’ve survived and thrived. We have grown a lot in personal depth and maturity.
- We’re becoming automatic and unconditional forgivers— recognizing that we live in a fallen world with many broken people. They like to lash out at others, however, we’ve become less thin-skinned, and we exhibit the Fruits of the Holy Spirit— especially patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. We more easily will “turn the other cheek.”
- Our friendship with Jesus has grown immensely in our journey in forgiveness. He has inspired us to forgive fully, knowing that HE has been encouraging us, guiding us, and moving us to even greater Freedom!
For Your Consideration:
We are the ones who GAIN so much in forgiving. If we continue to hang on to all the old baggage of non-forgiveness, we only hurt ourselves. The old line goes, “We drink the poison, and hope the other person dies”. How true! Life is too short to be hanging on to old hurts, and our Lord has a mission for us that only we can fulfill. Let’s not be distracted by the past!
This is reflection is part of “Forgiveness Forum” reflections by Greg Aitkens. To be added to his email list click here and request via email.