Ok-life on the farm is somewhat dangerous but our place is ridiculous! We sat down the other night and calculated the grand total of medical procedures our family has needed. The list is pretty impressive. Our latest trip to the ER was for a single staple in the head...a launching from a horse...minor check off of the list. Kid stuff.
Over 23 years our family has had...
138 stitches (or more, the math got fuzzy).
4 broken arms.
3 broken fingers.
2 eye injuries-requiring metal to be removed.
4 sprained ankles
1 sprained wrist
1 broken elbow
10 missing fingernails
Lost count on burns...Immeasurable bruising...
35 days in-patient hospital stays
3 out-patient hospital stays.
4 major abdominal surgeries
2 Root canals
2 sets of wisdom teeth removed
5 broken noses
2 broken heels
4 adult teeth pulled
2 major cancer scares
A whomping case of chronic Scoliosis
I am proud to say we are all up-to-date on our Tetanus shots. And if all goes well we should not have to worry about a rabies vaccine.
We all have a list of heart wounds. Do you spend time counting the way that people have hurt you? Abuse, Betrayal, Jealousy, Anger, Gossip, Envy, Strife, you name it...all of our ugly comes out when we harbor unforgiveness. Self absorption has a way of making us miserable and the power of our unforgiveness becomes frightfully obvious to others and yetoblivious to ourselves. We walk around with gaping wounds and say we are just fine when really, we aren't. What happens when a band-aid isn't big enough to heal a wound?
1. Let God In.
You have carried the burdens long enough. He already knows your heartache. He sees the whole thing from the beginning and He sees how it ends.
" Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
There is a difference between going to God and thinking things through or stewing about it. Have you told God in real physical words exactly why you are having a hard time forgiving that person? Hand over your list of wounds and let God deal with it.Take some serious time to be quiet (or scream and cry!) before God and lay it all out. Every ugly thought-every ugly detail-every nasty moment. It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. True. My guess is that you're loosing a whole lot more sleep about it than they are. Chances they have moved on and you are stuck right where it happened. When you take your hurts before a Holy God-you don't have to bear them alone. He is your Emmanuel, God With Us, and He is the only one that can help you move forward.
2. Look to Jesus
"But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves." Luke 23:34
Jesus shows us how to forgive on the cross. He forgave His executioners while they were watching Him die! Looking at Christ's example of ultimate forgiveness keeps the list of our wounds in perspective. He lived it -died for it-and He wants you to extend it to the very person that drives you crazy. Yeah,that one. Let's face it. God can do a lot more to change the other person that you can. He also is really good at righting all of the wrongs here on this earth and in the life to come. Maybe it is time to sit back and watch God do His thing on your behalf? When we take the other person off our our meat hooks it does a lot more than just free us up. It releases the other person to deal with God on the matter. It's always good to keep things in perspective because forgiveness isn't just a one time deal. Sometimes it is a daily choice when you are living smack in the middle of crisis. Seventy seven times and beyond.
3. Live In The Present
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Eph 4:31
Forgiving isn't forgetting. God is pretty good at not remembering sin. Us? Well, um...not so much. We tend to punch the replay button way to often. Forgiveness is letting go of the right to retaliate for the hurt that has been done to you-it doesn't mean you forget the hurt. Remembering our hurts can help us avoid future situations and remind us of how God showed Himself strong on our behalf. What isn't okay is when we let our memories snuff out our present joy and the replay button brings bitterness. If the conflict is in the past, don't let it define your future. Forgive. If the conflict is in the present, deal with it head on. Forgive. We run the risk of piling up more personal sins like slander, malice and anger than the other person's original offense! God is only asking you to focus on the present situation and lay down the list of wounds so you can find healing. Have you laid your right to revenge down? Have you made the effort to stop emotionally beating everyone up because you can't let it go? Have you taken the time to repent of your part in this situation? There is a joy and peace that is waiting at the foot of the cross.
There is something about letting go of the past to take hold of a brighter future. That can only be done through the Power and the Presence of Christ. I'm praying for you, sister. Close your eyes and let it go.