Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Who is it? Who is that one person that really gets to you, the one who has caused you pain, or who gets under your skin, or the one you simply can’t forgive? Stop and think- who is it? If you can’t think of anyone, ask the Lord to bring their face to mind. And if you can’t think of even one person or circumstance, then you should be writing these devotionals because you have found God in the depths of your being- or it’s so buried that you haven’t found it. Look for symptoms in your life and see if there are any.
So, whose face is it? Can you focus on that face and let the feelings arise? Are those feelings still active? Are they alive and living just below your consciousness? Yeah, that’s energy. And it’s either positive energy in your body, mind, spirit, or negative but in this particular case, my guess is that it’s negative. And the more negative energy we bury in us, still alive and active, the more destructive it is to us, even if we are no longer consciously living in it. It remains in us and does harm in some form. It’s just the way it is.
Why does the Lord command us to forgive? Why do people say that unforgiveness hurts us worse than the person we refuse to forgive? Because it’s true!
1. Unforgiveness lives in the dark places inside of us and that negative energy negatively impacts us. Sometimes it translates into illness. Sometimes it translates into bitterness, depression, self-destruction, or any other vast array of unhealthy things. But until it is expelled, it has power.
2. If we hold onto the circumstance, then we have been disobedient, are saying the cross isn’t enough, and haven’t totally forgiven and released it and turned it over to the Lord to deal with it. And He is the most effective One to deal with that person, we are not. So it’s highly inefficient to hold onto anything. The cost is high. The benefit of holding onto our unforgiveness is non-existent.
Now, why don’t you just hand it over? Right now. Hand the person, the circumstance, the energy, the anger, the depression, the exasperation, all of it- over to God. Righteous or not, the anger will harm us. Give it to Him. Put it on His altar so that He can move and change and actually make a difference in the situation. We don’t want to tie His hands by keeping it buried in us.
Forgiveness is a decision. It’s not an emotion. This is a huge distinction. We are required to make a decision to forgive. The feelings will follow. Sometimes it takes praying daily and in truth for the person in order for our hearts to change. But it is impossible to sincerely pray for someone for a long period of time without developing the Lord’s heart towards that person.
Sometimes the person that we so desperately need to forgive is ourselves. And we need to pray for ourselves and extend grace to ourselves, and also mercy. The cross was enough for us, too. Let’s not walk in pride, believing it wasn’t.
Take away: It’s important for us to take some time to get quiet and have the Lord reveal the face of any and every person that we are holding things against and forgive them- even ourselves. Unforgiveness is self-destructive and inefficient, practically speaking. Pray for those who are our “enemies” in any regard, in order to gain the heart of God towards that person. Be free from it all by putting the responsibility for rectification and revenge on God’s plate and off of ours. He’s so much better at making things right.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I would ask that you examine my heart and reveal to me any and all unforgivieness that may remain in me. I don’t want that negative energy bouncing around inside of me and harming me in any way. Please extend me the mercy to heal any and all harmful emotions once I have made the decision to forgive all that I am holding against myself and others. Your freedom, your peace and your cross are incredible gifts to me. I choose to receive them.