Ok so we have already gone over some myths of forgiveness. Getting these myths out of the way changes your perspective of it and you begin to see the actual heart of it. If you haven’t had the chance to read “The Door to Forgiveness” you can click on over to it and check it out. I highly recommend taking a moment to read it as there are some false accusations out there about forgiveness. Accusations that give us a fear of moving forward with it in our lives.
Forgiveness is a choice, NOT a feeling. It is an act to set us FREE from hurt that clutters our very being. I remember while I was growing up my Dad use to always say “ Now don’t you let them own any real estate in your head Meredith!!” What a fabulous outlook to how we hold onto things in our minds. I can visualize an enormous apartment complex in my head of memories! One filled with wonderful tenants, their walls filled with beautiful pictures of my life. Picture collages of joy, fun, excitement, encouragement, and love. A spread of joyful memories cast among their walls capturing all the beautiful moments I have endured. I take care of those tenants…..I hear them when they call me, I cater to them, I embrace them, never wanting them to move out. They are perfect in what they bring to my building.
There are also some vacant apartments waiting to be occupied and THEN there are those noisy, overbearing, hard to deal with tenants I need to gain control of! Tenants that all they do is party all night, every night, with loud pounding music. They nag me, break things, bring forth complaints, never satisfied with how and what I do for them. They are the kind of tenants you want to avoid when you see them calling. When you enter their unit, you see hurtful and bitter pictures hung upon their walls. Wall art with sayings that cut to the core and put us into a state of shock. Just looking at them pierces our existence. I NEED to evict these tenants!!!! I’ve had enough! They are disrupting all my lovely tenants, I just need to find the right way to do it without jeopardizing myself with the Tenancy Agency. Wait a minute….I just remembered…..the noise complaints and destruction of property alone validates me kicking them out! No law is going to question me on giving them the boot. I own the building right??? I have the right to do so! They are disrupting the quality of life within this apartment building! I owe it to my tenants that add life and tranquility to the building. And heck, it sure would make my life a whole lot easier with them gone for good!!!!!! So I march on up to all their doors and slap a big bright letter on them and tell them “THEY HAVE BEEN EVICTED”. Some listen and leave with out a disturbance and others just out right ignore you. It takes days of putting the letter back up that they ripped off. They aren’t going to go out easy. Actually, they are fighting with you now…..threatening to take you to court….coming at you with belittling remarks.
So what do you do next? Well in an actual occurrence of this happening, the super intendant or owner of the building would call the police for assistance. They would escalate it to the authorities. The guys in uniform, with guns and handcuffs would come in and get them out for you. They still might go kicking and screaming……but they would be gone right???? And since you dealt with it in a proper manner by calling in the authorities, instead of being held accountable for retaliating, you are set free from them. You have collected their keys and your tentants can now live in peace and you can move on. In order to post an add for occupancy you first need to go in and clean up the place. Time to go in to remove all the junk, scrap off the disturbing wall art and get a fresh coat of paint on the walls.
Un-Forgiveness is keeping such a tenant in your head. Allowing them to destroy your beautiful building and disrurpt your life over and over. Painted pictures of deceit, lies, and revenge coat your mind. Wall art with hurtful sayings stuck upon the walls of your heart. Noise that is so loud it drowns out the existence of the beautiful whispers that once echoed the halls. It is terrible living conditions.
Forgiveness is kicking out those tenants that take over your minds real estate. It is the choice of getting them out. Getting your keys back to go in and clean out the place. We certainly can’t call the police to help us with that. So who do we escalate it to in the real estate of our heads? Well the ultimate Authority of course. The guy who actually wrote the law!
Romans 12:19 ~ Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
We are to cast all of our troubles at His feet. There is no wall or door in any apartment unit He won’t kick down to help you if you call upon Him. He hears you when you cry out to Him and will even redecorate the unit walls if you let Him. He wants to give you the keys back to do it right. To open the units up for more beautiful memories encased in sweet whispers to echo and coat the walls. So what do the keys look like? How do we use each one?
Here are 5 Keys in opening the door to forgiveness. I like to call this process the “redesign of our minds real estate.”
Key #1 ~ We need to pray for God to give us the grace to Forgive ~ Forgiveness is tough, especially when the person who hurt you hasn’t even apologized. We need to ask God to give us the strength and grace to move past our feelings of hurt and anger to begin the process of forgiveness. You will be amazed at how much strength you receive from Him to begin the process.
1 John 5:14 ~ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Key #2 ~ Follow up with praying for the person who has done you wrong. ~ I know, that seems like a tough one! But the truth of the matter is, everyone needs prayer! Maybe you are the only person that has crossed their paths that knows to pray for them. Despite what they have done to us, God loves them too! Prayer can move mountains in peoples lives, mountains that we don’t even know are there. How can we expect God to show up in some peoples lives if we aren’t asking Him to do so???? Praying for them also releases you of the burden and lets God take control of it. You now have surrendered it to Him to deal with! Though it may feel impossible to forgive that person, God will work something in your heart and give you the strength to do it. All things are possible through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It is so hard, almost impossible, to stay in the dwelling place of hurt when you begin praying for them.
Matthew 5:44 ~ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Key #3 ~ Then you pray for God to Bless them. ~ Yup Bless them! Now I know that seems so far out there to pray for blessings over someones life that has hurt you…but we aren’t necessarily praying for them to become rich or win a trip to the Cayman Islands ……The way God works is, and I pretty much guarantee it, is one of the blessings He will bestow in their lives, is seeing what they did to you and then coming to a place with God themselves in repentance. Sometimes God will work in their lives to bring them to a humbling place, a place where they see their flaws and recognize their hurts as well. Hurting people hurt people but humbled hurting people see the hurt in others. God does the best work in our lives when we come to that humbling place. Recognizing that we need Him and that we are SO FAR GONE without Him. So why wouldn’t we want others to recognize that! In my eyes, that is the one of the GREATEST blessing of all, coming to that moment with Him, so He can mold me, shape me, and sculpt me into the women He desires me to be. And anything that God desires is nothing short of incredibly AMAZING!!
Key #4 ~ And if they have a need….you help them. ~ If someone has treated you bad intentionally….they know they did….and they will be totally shocked when you are good to them. It will break the hardness off their heart and it will give them the opportunity to know the Christ that lives in you.
Luke 6:27 ~ “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Key #5 ~ Ask God to show you the lesson here ~ Yes, you heard me, nothing happens in our lives with out us getting a lesson from it. You may think the other person needs the biggest lesson, but remember our pain has humbled us, so while we are there why not ask Him to reveal what He wants us to learn from it……maybe it is just the simple act of learning to forgive again and again, to strengthen us, or maybe there is something more to it. We never know unless we ask Him! Be ready cause it will more then likely be life changing.
Now remember, forgiveness isn’t of this realm. It isn’t a natural human reaction in our lives, it is a spiritual discipline and a heavenly attribute. Prayer opens up the doors to the heavenly realm, bringing in a supernatural force that no one can mess with. There is SO MUCH power in it! Our feelings tend to get in the way and put a wall up to moving forward in many areas of our lives. We think we can’t help how we feel, but we can, we just need help with it. It takes coming to a humbling place and realizing NO ONE is perfect and we ALL need forgiveness.
The real estate in our heads belongs to us (the superintendent) and God (The Ultimate Authority). Joining forces with the Ultimate Authority is like winning the war before it already began. NO tenant gets past the heavenly reference check. NO tenant gets to stay if they break the rules and certainly NO tenant gets to destroy God’s masterpiece when He is living in there Himself! We are helpless with out Papa God in our lives and until we realize that, we will be stuck in a state of unbalanced living, just managing to get by on our own powerless authority. Forgiveness does take some time and self evaluation. I’m not going to lie….it can be extremely tough…it requires consistency and a whole lot of prayer. But anything worth having in life is a difficult process. No pain, No gain right??? What if the very things that have happened to us or been said about us, where meant to mold us and actually mentor us into the people we where meant to be??? The one thing I will promise, is that when He’s got you……oh when He’s got you…..NOTHING will ever stop you when it is of His will. Like I said…when it is of His will….it is nothing short of incredibly AMAZING!!!!! It is well worth using the keys and accessing a brand new life with gleaming walls and echos of joy that coat the very building He has given YOU! Again, the choice is yours.
Matthew 6:14-15~ “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”