Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 13, 2013

we must let go

Two weeks ago today, I called a friend and asked him to meet me for lunch.  We just needed to touch base on a couple of items (no big deal).  When we sat down for lunch, it was obvious to me that my friend was in a bad mood (very rare).  It just so happens that I was in a less than stellar mood myself.  So there we sat – two supposedly spiritual guys blowing off steam, and lamenting about the way we have been treated.  Have you ever experienced the feelings of, “how could they have treated me like that?”  Now, it’s interesting that my friend and I could easily give you an eloquent presentation on how to handle hurts and how you should forgive everybody every time, but at that lunch, neither of us really seemed to be in a forgiving mood.  It was more like, “Oh yes, I’ll forgive, but I really would like to tell that person a thing or two.”  Hmm!

I’m sure that my friend has worked on forgiving over the last two weeks as I have, but it reminded me that it hurts.  It hurts, and if we’re not careful, the emotions of letting off steam become deep-seated feelings of anger that can cause us far greater pain than the original offense.  Fast forward almost two weeks to my Saturday morning Bible reading.  I was cruising through Matthew 6, when I read words that you and I have quoted, prayed, or recited literally hundreds of times.  Yet most of the time when these words are quoted, the deep meaning gets lost in the recitation.  Words from what we have grown to know as the Lord’s Prayer flow from our tongue with great ease.  And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  When you say those words slowly and really think about them, there is no escape from the meaning.  If you are a Christ-follower, you know forgiveness, and you have the assurance of eternal life in heaven.  How then could you and I who have been forgiven by Christ, be unwilling to relationally forgive?  Hmm!

When we think about the profoundness of, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us, there is no getting around the context.  If we forgive, we will be forgiven! If we will not forgive, we will not be forgiven!  It is very interesting to me that the verse that follows our often quoted model for prayer contains these words … If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Hmm!

Have you ever noticed that it is relatively easy to request God’s forgiveness?  Then why is it so difficult to forgive the hurts — which do hurt — directed our way from others?  We could spend lots of time discussing the reasons, but the bottom line for all Christ-followers is that there is no excuse for not forgiving others when they hurt us.  I heard John Maxwell say once, “forgive everybody, every time, for everything.”  No one ever said forgiving others of hurts — that really do hurt — is easy, but that is God’s plan of all of us who know the forgiveness of Christ.  Hmm!

Have you ever sat at lunch with a friend and blown off steam about someone who has hurt you?  Have you ever been hurt deeply, and let that pain sink deep into the fiber of your being?  Have you ever said, “I will forgive, but I will never forget?”  Have you ever hurt someone, and wanted them to forgive you?  Have you ever called out to God, with a heart that wanted His cleansing for hurting someone else?  Is there someone right now — today — that you should release from the sin they have committed against you?  Hmm!

Forgiveness for me, my friend, and for you, is a big deal.  If you and I want to walk in a right relationship with our Lord, we must let go of hurts, and forgive.  My attitude two weeks ago got in the way of that relationship for me, and I needed to forgive. Who needs your forgiveness?  Hmm!


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