But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. 1 John 1:9 (NIRV)I come from a long line of grudge-holders. My Grandma could have brought home the Olympic gold in this, had there been such an event. Thankfully she had a turnaround in her heart before she passed away but for the great majority of her life she lived being angry, resentful, and holding grudges against family, friends and neighbors. She had endured a lot of suffering early in life as a victim of abuse and various other traumas. As a result she had put up her defense mechanisms so high that she didn't trust anyone, and in a way I think she believed that eventually everyone, even her own family, would find a way to hurt her. We all knew that was just the way she was and we loved her regardless even though she was not your typical warm & fuzzy grandmother.
You'd think that after seeing firsthand what harboring resentments does to a person I'd be the exact opposite. Unfortunately, the hot temper and strong personality that I seemed to have been born with didn't really help my development in this area. I'd joke around with my family saying it was the savage Indian blood that runs deep in my veins that was to blame. But deep down inside I really hated that about myself, that I had the ability to get so angry at people. I knew this was something I needed to conquer in my life but didn't even know where to start.
I'm currently facing a situation in my life where I need to forgive and trust again. I was struggling with this because at times I would feel alright and even feel like I could get past things and move on. Then suddenly I would get overwhelmed by feelings of anger, paranoia, and resentment, and I would just feel like running away from the situation. I would feel like if I let my guard down I would surely get hurt again so I should just protect myself by shutting that person and the pain out. It suddenly occurred to me that I was using the coping mechanisms of my grandma; whom I'd always viewed as an extreme case that I never wanted to be like in that aspect.
I had prayed about this situation and although I knew it was possible for God to help me, I couldn't really visualize how that was going to happen. I just couldn't picture myself letting go of what had happened and being able to trust that I wasn't going to get hurt again. I didn't feel like I had it in me to be able to achieve this. I didn't want resentment to build up in my heart, but I didn't know how to stop it from happening. I was trying to put it out of my mind and not think about it, but then it would suddenly just hit me at the most irrelevant times.
One of these moments happened to me just a couple of days ago. I started to feel really nervous like I was making a huge mistake by forgiving and trying to trust again, and I was setting myself up for certain disappointment. It just so happened though, that my devotional for that day was about how God forgives our sins and keeps no record of them. How as soon as we ask Him for forgiveness he is ready and willing to make things as new. I started thinking about how that works. I've messed up many, many times in my life, there have been many ways that I have betrayed God and myself and done things that are despicable in the eyes of God. However each and every time I know that He's forgiven me for those things and I can go on with the certainty that He is not holding my past mistakes against me.
I knew that this person I needed to forgive was doing everything possible to make things right by me and before God. I knew God had forgiven them, so suddenly it hit me: what gave me the right to try to hold on to things when God Himself had forgiven them? I realized that in order for me to be able to forgive this person I was going to need to look to God for inspiration in how He forgives me.
When God forgives, in His eyes He restores me back to the place I was, as if it had never happened. It's hard for me to comprehend this level of pure forgiveness but that is actually how it occurs. He doesn't look at me through eyes of betrayal, wondering when is the next time I'm going to let Him down again. He is actually the opposite, looking at me expecting good things and as a completed work living out my full potential as He intended me to be. The funny thing is, He knows that I'm gonna let Him down again. It's inevitable. But still He looks at me through eyes of faith and love; still believing in me no matter how many times I've broken His heart in the past or how many times He knows I'm going to break His heart again in the future.
I realized I needed to endeavor to forgive others in this way. Obviously I am human and will never achieve that level of pure forgiveness. I also know I need to be balanced and careful with people, but I can still forgive in my heart those that wrong me and let go of those offenses. I need to remember not to elevate myself to a place where I think I have a right to hold on to things and hold mistakes over people's heads. God Himself doesn't even do that; so I should look to how He forgives people and model myself after that. I need to stop looking at people through the eyes of all their mistakes and imperfections, but try to see them as God sees them. His expectations are not that we are going to let Him down, so my expectations of people shouldn't be that either.
I know this is no easy assignment. I'm battling against the way I've been used to being for as long as I can remember. Maybe even battling against that savage Indian blood. But I've seen what happens when resentment takes root in your heart, and I know the path that I was on was not God's best version of my personality.
Once again You will show loving concern for us. You will completely wipe out the evil things we've done. You will throw all of our sins into the bottom of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NIRV)