I am amazed at how easily I can recall times that I have been wronged . . . Things from years ago are so vivid. It’s obvious that I’ve never really let go of those events. It’s worse than that . . . as I think back, I relive those times . . . and my blood still boils. I guess the fact that I still get upset shouts that in addition to remembering the events; I have never forgiven the offenders.
I can so clearly see the time that, as I was growing up, there was R. G. He was a guy who was mad at my neighbour friend, J. P. I encouraged them both to mend their ways . . . They did . . . And then from that day on, they both forgot that I existed. What a couple of jerks!
Then there was the time B. P., one of the neighbourhood bullies who put up his fists and came after me. I can still picture standing in front of the big pine tree at the corner house on our block as he swung away. I didn’t do anything to provoke that. What a thug!
And then there was C.R. one of two “friends” that would drive the three of us to high school every day. One day he thought it would be funny to pull away as I walked up the drive to get in the car. He left me with no way to get to school. What a loser!
Oh yes, and P.M. another bully that was always pushing me around in front of his friends. I still smile when I think of the time he walked by my desk at school and tried to smack me. I got lucky though. I stuck out my hand to protect myself and found his hand bent backwards in mine . . . So I bent it back further. I think I made him cry. Served him right! He never bothered me again. Take that!
Oh, and then there was B.T. He came into the gym locker room drunk one day. He wanted to use the locker I already had my clothes in. I stuck up for myself for a change and said, “No”. He swung for my head, I ducked, and he hit the locker, busting open his hand. That still kind-of delights me. What a creep!
I could go on with the list, especially those who I lent money to and was never paid back . . . I guess I kind-of hold a grudge when I am wronged. In contrast, I need to better understanding the extent of the forgiveness of God . . . I fall so short!
And then I read of God’s forgiveness for those who turn to Him. Rahab the harlot . . . a bad girl, from the land of a people who rejected God. God, being far more righteous than I can even comprehend was willing to forgive this offender. No, let me restate that because His love, mercy and grace go so far beyond that . . . God sent His Son to be put to death as payment to redeem that offender. More than forgiven, the sin was paid for . . . Paid for by the one who was offended! And I can’t even shake some of my childhood grudges. How great is my God!
Help me Lord, I need to let go of those things that keep me a prisoner. Instead, help me to hold tightly to the mercy and grace You have shown me. You have forgiven me of so much more than I deserve . . . More than that, you paid the penalty that I deserved. Give me the strength to reflect Your love to others.
Joshua 6:22-25 But to the two men who had spied out the land (for battle), Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.”23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.
24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it . . . 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (bible gateway.com, ESV)
More than just a believer in God, I need to be a follower of Jesus!