Forgiveness is a Gift We Give Ourselves When We Offer it to Others
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
I was standing at the mailbox and opening an invitation when a flood of insecurity and resentment washed over me.
A decade earlier, and just two weeks before I was moving away, a good friend got fed up with me and let me know it in front of some other friends. In the middle of a battle with depression, I didn’t have the capacity to process her criticism or work through the conflict at that time, so our friendship ended.
Ten years passed, and by God’s grace (plus years of counseling and medication) I was set free from the pain of my past. Or so I thought.
Holding the invitation to an event where I’d likely see that person, I realized I had not forgiven her. I could try to ignore the invite and the pain, or I could pursue the freedom of forgiveness.
Two weeks later, my stomach rumbled with nausea as I filled in the blank on my RSVP with a courageous yes.
I read and prayed through Scriptures and listened to sermons about forgiving others. I journaled memories of what happened and asked God to show me His perspective—and even hers.
During the three-hour drive to the event, I had worship music and teaching on God’s forgiveness on repeat. Lord, drench me with the healing power of Your forgiveness and love for me so I don’t walk in feeling like the broken girl who moved away ten years ago, I prayed. I wanted a confidence that could not be shaken, no matter what happened.
When I got there, the most unexpected feeling came over me: I wanted to find the friend who’d hurt me and apologize for whatever I had done to upset her. It didn’t take long before we saw each other. She smiled and stood up to hug me. Later we talked about what had happened and apologized for hurting each other.
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves when we offer it to others. In doing so, we don’t forgive so we can forget. We forgive so we can be set free.
Lord, drench me with the healing power of Your forgiveness and love for me so that I can truly forgive. I want to be set free. Help me forgive so that I may indeed be set free from the hold of anger and hurt, and experience the healing that comes with such freedom. Thank You, Jesus, for showing us what it looks like to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave us. Amen.
This is an excerpt from Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay by (in)courage - a devotional book now available on DaySpring.com. Learn more about this book, or shop other books & devotionals from DaySpring.