Perhaps the hardest parts to let go of are our thoughts. Thoughts have a way of holding us captive to our past – whether it be memories or dreams that seemingly will never come true. It can leave us feeling hopeless, cynical, depressed, bitter.
II Corinthians 10:5 challenges us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. This practice is probably most practical and most difficult when it comes to forgiveness. I mean, we’re upset for a reason! Someone hurt us, and we want justice served!
In A Righteous Anger, I mentioned what righteous anger looks like. Now I’m going to focus on dealing with anger that gets out of control, the type of anger that we all face most often. You know, when we can’t control the way someone else feels about us.
As a 38 year old, single woman, you can correctly assume that I know heartbreak. In fact, it’s why I started this blog. Just when I think I have no heart left to lose, another piece is stolen. It’s enough to make anyone shut down and grow bitter. In fact, I was for a long time.
I don’t know if you ever experienced bitterness, but it’s basically being a living contradiction. You isolate yourself, yet want to break free from loneliness. You wish people would cut you a break, but you’re super critical. You build up walls blocking people out, yet wonder why nobody understands you. You wonder why your world seems to be falling apart, but then it’s what you expected.
We’ve compared ourselves to the point of hopelessness and hatred. We communicate through sneers and sarcasm. If the original offense really was of no fault of our own, our reaction certainly made up for any doubt.
Listen. We must forgive! Unforgiveness will hurt us more than the offender. Period. Not only will it hurt the relationship in conflict, but the resentment will fester into future relationships if left unchecked.
I wish I could speak more eloquently on this issue, but think the Bible says it best. So I leave you with this passage as a challenge to forgive.
“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began to settle accounts, one who owed 10,000 talents was brought before him. Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. “At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything! ’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe! ’ “At this, his fellow slave fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. On the contrary, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. “Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? ’ And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.””
Matthew 18:23-35 HCSB