This past week or so, my gorgeous baby boy, Judah, has been lighting up my world with his smile. I had been concerned that at 8 weeks his smile was running very late but was assured by the Doctor and every other medical professional that this was perfectly normal with him being slightly premature. He would catch up and catch up he did. As I played with him on the bed last Friday morning, all of a sudden he beamed from ear to ear at me. My heart burst inside me as his whole face lit up, as did my world, with his first smile. Unexpectedly, as his eyes sparkled, my eyes glistened with tears – big old tears – that dropped on my beautiful babe as I cried! Where did that emotion come from? I knew in that moment it came from a deep place inside of me, a place hidden from the watching world, a secret place where it was important I allowed God to invade and clear out; otherwise hurt, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness would fill that space!
A baby’s smile is so pure, gentle and innocent. This world, business, and sadly people can be harsh, unkind, and unfair. I hate that reality. I have experienced that, as we all have, but as I looked at Judah’s beautiful smile, in that moment the contrast against the darkness and ugliness of people I had trusted and circumstances that had wrongfully hurt me, came to the surface. The hurt of offence had raised its ugly head and I knew what I had to do! As I have said before, sometimes life sucks and it will suck the life of God out of you if you let it. Don’t let it!
One of my life mottos is “offence is a choice, I choose not to be offended”. When faced with the pain of feeling you have been wronged, it is vital to let the wrong you feel has been done to you by others go! Yes in the now famous words of Elsa from the Disney hit movie Frozen, “Let it go”! `often easier said than done!
These three keys to living free in the midst of so much offence thrown at us to take us out and take our hearts captive with unforgiveness, have greatly helped me and I hope they benefit you too.
It is vital to rise above victim mentality in order to become a Victor in reality, by knowing:
1) Forgiveness is a CHOICE!
2) Forgiveness is a COMMITMENT!
3) Forgiveness is a CELEBRATION!
My handbook for life, the Bible, tells me that:
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
In other words we have all wronged and hurt God, missed the mark, failed to meet His expectations and standard, yet how did He deal with us? Forgiveness! When others wrong and hurt us, miss the mark, fail to meet our expectations may we do likewise and know the power of forgiveness as we make forgiveness our choice.
Everytime a sinner turns their life over to God and comes to Him for forgiveness, the Bible tells us there is celebration in heaven. Everytime we forgive others – we ourselves go free! Freedom and liberation always leads to celebration. As you commit to this process of forgiveness continually and consistently in your life you can live ‘where the party never ends’! As you constantly make forgiveness your CHOICE, as you COMMIT to a lifestyle of forgiveness consistently allowing the pain and discomfort it brings to work through you, the offence, bitterness and hurt of it will not be your final destination but a life of liberation and CELEBRATION will be.
Back to my gorgeous babe, Judah. He has struggled with, how can I put this politely, extracting the waste from his body since he was born or in simple, blunter terms, ‘pooping’. Midwives and Doctors all explained to me it can be normal for breast fed babies to pass this every ten days, particularly as Judah was slightly premature and his bodily functions can all take time to gear up. The other night was the worst. I did all I could to work it out of him – I massaged his precious little tummy, cuddled and soothed his discomfort until daylight and then at about 5 am he exploded! I woke David up to celebrate – no joke, oh the highlights of parenting! Better out than in we told Judah! It suddenly hit me, not the brown stuff, but the reality that just as constipation and stored up toxins are unhealthy, uncomfortable and painful to Judah so is unforgiveness and offence in our hearts. It blocks and clogs up the blessing of God in our lives. It’s a health hazard and our Father is there lovingly holding us, massaging our pain, soothing our discomfort until daylight dawns on us and we explode with God’s freedom and release. As you pray for those who unfairly treat you; watch the pain, offence and unforgiveness work it’s way out of you and freedom win! It’s better out than in!
Allow forgiveness to be your counsel! It makes a great teacher! It can teach you who to trust and not to trust in the future, what to do and what not to do but from a position of joy and freedom and not from a position of offence, resentment or bitterness.
I remember someone once saying bitterness was like drinking rat poison and hoping the rat died! Offence, bitterness and unforgiveness will kill our ability to see life clearly, skew our focus and cause us, not those who have wronged us, to miss out on opportunities. You never win by causing someone else to lose! The reason I believe God said “vengeance is mine” is because He knew the erosive and destructive nature vengeance would have on our hearts. Your success is your best revenge on those who wrong you. Feel the pain and get up again. Forgiveness will keep you free!
That person who deceived you, lied to you, abused you and misused you – let them go. Forgiveness does not make those who wronged you right – it keeps you free! You’re stronger than you think you are! Remember, when you make the choice to forgive you will need to commit to it! Jesus chose to forgive us. He was committed to that choice when the going got tough and when He didn’t feel like it – even enduring the cross. Commit to the process of forgiveness even when it hurts. God will cause you to rise above it all just as Jesus did and you will come out on top!
Make forgiveness your choice today, commit to it and a lifestyle of celebration will result from it. Unforgiveness closes and cuts you off from opportunity. Forgiveness opens doors and will open your heart and character like a flower – so go ahead and do what flowers do; stay free and flourish beautifully!
There is another smile that has brought tears to my eyes many times. It has been the smile of God’s kindness, forgiveness and loving favour over my life, even when I have least deserved it. His smile softens my hard heart everytime. Look up, above the unforgiveness and offence and allow His beautiful smile to soften and melt your heart today…. Let it go and let forgiveness flow!
My forgiveness declaration:
“Offence is a choice, I choose not to be offended! I choose forgiveness, I choose freedom, I commit to forgiving others in the same way God forgave me – completely! I will live a life of praise and celebration. I am open and not closed to opportunity! God is for me and nothing can be against me. The love and forgiveness of Jesus keeps me free.”