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The tingles began around my heart, moved down my body, flowed through my legs, and right out my toes. The lightness that wrapped around my heart came from only one Source.
God and I had just done some business I didn’t even know needed doing.
See, I believe in forgiveness. I know the verse in the Bible that says if I don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive me (Matthew 6:15). I understand the seriousness. I mean, how can I refuse to forgive someone after all the forgiveness God has given to me.
Yet, I had been challenged through a book I was reading to ask God if I was harboring any unforgiveness in my heart. I almost smiled when I read it because I try really hard to keep a short list. I felt a sense that God wouldn’t show me anything because when someone offends me, I try to speak forgiveness over them and the situation quickly. I don’t like allowing the roots of unforgiveness to take ground in my heart.
The author of the book suggested, through her own story, to not just forgive from the head but from the heart. So, I went to God and asked, just to get the full experience of what I was reading. (Go ahead and smile … you know what’s coming.)
I sat quietly waiting. I listened. I breathed deeply. And then, for the next fifteen minutes, God brought to my mind people I had not truly forgiven and He gave me the memory of the very details which had hurt me to begin with. Those details were so specific; it was like the offense had just occurred. I felt shocked. Hadn’t I actually forgiven?
The words the author wrote replayed in my mind about forgiving from the heart not just the mind. An earlier conversation ran across my memory. A friend had encouraged me to make sure whatever forgiveness I gave came from my soul not my thoughts.
I began speaking the names of the person out loud and the specific offense. I was honestly very surprised at what came out of my mouth because I thought I’d dealt with these issues. I had.
But God was calling me to deal with them emotionally.
When dealing with something on an emotional level, I believe it takes more strength because then it hurts to forgive. Look at what Jesus did. He struggled in the garden asking God for a different option. The cross brought physical pain, and the time of separation from His Abba Father hurt Him emotionally as He gave Himself to forgive me.
God didn’t give me another option either. For forgiveness to be true, it had to come from a tender heart.
And with His grace and strength, it did.
I have no doubt that the devil will try and bring these things back to my mind again. That’s what happens, right? But you see, God removed the enemy’s power because God and I dealt with the hurt at the heart level.
I hope today you are challenged and encouraged to ask God if you have any unforgiveness for the two of you to deal with. I pray for His strength as you forgive from the heart.
(Side note: the book I mentioned is Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn.)
Photo by: Unsplash-Keem Ibarra