This time of year displays God’s beauty in the colors, smells and comforts of fall. We delight in the ability to cuddle up with loved ones or a good book, light a scented candle and hopefully slow down a little and focus on God. So as I was studying scripture on the topic of forgiveness, I began to imagine a leaf this time of year. Under a gentle breeze, it falls, back and forth in a graceful motion and lands lightly on the ground where it adds to a mosaic of golden hues. The trip from high in the branches to this place on the ground was effortless. And so can our letting go of grudges, if we ask God to help us. He is the breeze that prompts us to let go. You know the unsettled feelings we have when we live in a bitter state? The Holy Spirit is nudging us to let go. Like the wind plucks the leaf from the tree, He weakens our grip and carries the burden from us.
Most of us have felt wronged by someone in our lifetime. We may have forgiven them already, and I pray you have, but some of us may be still holding on to that hurt. With God’s help and our full surrender, we can free fall into forgiveness, just like the leaf, knowing that whatever the outcome, God is holding us and our hurts in the palm of his hand. Notice, the leaf doesn’t disappear. The hurt and pain do not go away, and neither does the memory, but its position changes. Instead of it holding our upward gaze and attention, it becomes part of the road we travel; part of the tapestry of our life experiences. It is underfoot and under control; God’s control. We no longer need to dwell on it or the pain it caused. It no longer impedes our view as we look up, but becomes part of our history. We can learn from it and allow it to bring us closer to God. He desires to free us from the bonds of unforgiveness and to heal our hurts. But where do we begin?
First, we recognize and admit all the things we’ve done wrong and the ways we have sinned.Next, we realize that our Loving God forgives us through His son Jesus Christ,while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) Our sin has hurt Him deeply, but listen to these words from Micah 7:18–19: “You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
Then we let those hurts fall like the leaves. We don’t hold on to anything that comes between us and God. When we are free from unforgiveness, we will hear the voice of God more clearly. We will have peace and joy in Jesus.
My prayer today is that you let go of your hurts and your grudges. Lose the grip you have on the bitterness and vengeful thoughts. Trust God to work out the details. Like the saying goes, “Do the right thing and your feelings will catch up.” They will, when you trust in a perfect and Holy God.
Here is a prayer guide and scripture to jump start your journey to forgiveness....May God bless your steps as you move toward forgiving.
“He lied to me” “I was overlooked” “I was abandoned” “I didn’t do ANYTHING wrong!” “She needs to apologize to me” “It’s not my fault!”
You may have experienced-abandonment, abuse, false accusations, betrayal, infidelity, or even worse. It is ok to acknowledge the pain. It is normal to have emotions. But you must move beyond your feelings and hear the voice of God. He will carry you through the process and free you from unforgiveness. Pray this prayer, turn to God’s Word and be free.
Father God, Today I choose to forgive. I surrender all my bitterness, rage and resentment to you. I know you are faithful to see me through the pain. Use this situation to grow me and draw me closer to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”