Six weeks and five days ago (but who is counting!?), my husband greeted me with a statement that rocked my world. As the smoke cleared, as my finger-pointing and accusations fell empty to the floor (no one willing to receive it), I sensed that God was challenging me, “You speak to women’s groups about handling difficult situations. You teach them to move from fear to faith, from victim to victor, from trial to triumph on the Path of Praise. Now, child, you get to see if what you have been teaching really works. Even in this.”
That was not what I signed up for.
My trial threatened to bury me. “But, Lord! He is WRONG!”
All my protests fell on what seemed to be deaf ears.
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
– Isaiah 30:18
God waited to show me compassion. I kept him waiting.
But try as I might, I couldn’t shake the fact that while my husband was horribly wrong about what he did and said (and I do have his permission to share our story), God wanted to get my attention about a whole boatload of things to which I, in my self-righteous fervor, was blind.
God has been faithful during these past 6 weeks and 5 days…faithful to show me ways that my heart is stained by sin. He doesn’t do this with condemnation, of course. No, instead, he extends grace and mercy to me. He is showing me first hand that when I am faced with a trial that overwhelms me, I can experience a reprieve–relief–if I approach Him and ask what needs dealing with in my own life. I ask Him to show me how I have wronged another or wronged Him.
This is counter intuitive. Even as I am convicted in my heart about things that I know he wants me to ask Bob for forgiveness for, everything in me wants to scream at God: “What about him?” But this is the Christlike path…
When they hurled their insults at him,
he did not retaliate; when he suffered,
he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself
to him who judges justly.
– 1 Peter 2:23
Although this is so very difficult, I know that this is where God calls me to go. He calls me to follow Jesus, who didn’t sin at all, yet was accused and misunderstood as a criminal. He bore my sin…my sin. The least I can do is own it.
Ask God to help you to be willing to be willing to do this exercise. Honestly, it has made a huge difference for me. I have to keep at it, though, or I can quickly turn bitter, it seems.
Read the previous forgiveness blog post. Do the assignment at the end of that post.
Ask God to show you what there is that you need to go to another about to request forgiveness. Keep in mind that they may not choose to grant you forgiveness, but if you truly are repentant of what you have done, you can have the joy and freedom that comes from having obeyed the Lord in what He has called you to do. God will deal with the person who refuses to forgive in His time.
In fact, I have asked my husband to forgive me for many things and some of them he is unable or unwilling to forgive. This could make mincemeat of my heart, but I have to trust God that, in His sovereignty, He knew that this would happen. I have a cleansed conscience–both for the wrongs I have done, the things I regret, but also for having done what God called me to do–seeking out forgiveness even from someone unwilling to give it.
If you would like to be encouraged, please share with us here your thoughts about this or prayer request.