I am, in fact, a fairly forgiving person. I have taught lessons on forgiving others. My children are expected to communicate forgiveness to each other.
Forgiveness is what we, as Christians, have experienced and so it is what we, as Christians, are supposed to do. The whole "forgive as the Lord forgave you" idea.
And yet I am also a loyal person. Loyalty, most will agree, is a great character quality.
But on this past Sunday, God showed me that a tiny seed of bitterness had grown silently in my heart because my sense of loyalty trumped forgiveness. I am so thankful today that God used that sermon to reveal how misguided that unspoken notion of mine really was. Loyalty is a nice thing, but nothing should ever trump true forgiveness!
Yesterday morning I went through my own process of personal confession. Then I went to work on the forgiveness part, painstakingly uprooting each ugly little shoot from that original seed of bitterness. It wasn't easy. I was afraid of letting go of something that has been genuinely difficult over the last couple of years. Afraid of releasing control, as if I ever had control over the original situation in the first place. Afraid that I would fail to completely remove it all...fail to truly forgive...and find myself back where I was before.
As I put my thoughts and prayers on paper, I also made a list of each grievance that I had not forgiven in this particular situation. And then I pulled out our shredder, breathed, prayed, and watched each of those grievances get ground up into confetti.
And I felt freedom.
Last night I ran into someone closely connected to the situation...in fact, one of those old shoots that I had just uprooted. Not a coincidence, I think, but certainly a test of that new freedom of forgiveness. And by the grace of God, because of His power to forgive, I was able to not just pretend to be nice. I was nice from a genuine heart. And afterwards, my mind was able to move on to other things without my thought patterns taking old routes into old grievances.
I experienced freedom.
I am so thankful today that nothing trumps forgiveness!!