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Forgiving One Another Again and Again

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22

Lessons On Forgiveness Part 3

One of the definitions of bitter is: Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh.

As I ponder how I have become bitter in my own life one thing seems to have a common thread in feeding the bitter monster.  Dwelling on it.  Bitterness usually takes some time to infiltrate the mind and heart.  It takes its time creeping in and then, like a wet dog it gets inside and shakes.  Bitterness splatters each nook and cranny, drips on the floors, and runs down the walls. If we don’t clean it up quickly, it hardens and becomes difficult to remove.

Learning to grab bitterness and put it in its place before it takes over takes practice.  One slip up reminds you to pay closer attention and take control of it before it gets as far as it did this time. Practice takes time.

We live in a now society.  I don’t know if that is only American culture or not but we all want what we want now.  Often times when it requires hard work on our part, we avert our eyes and pretend we can’t see any of it.

When it comes to forgiveness we often expect the same thing.  Instant gratification.  I realize God can and sometimes does pluck unforgiveness from our hearts right away but that’s not always the case.  This is where the hard work comes in and if we allow it, where satan can grab a foothold in our lives.

When you are in the midst of wrestling with a forgiveness issue – keep working!  Don’t give up!  If you are still fighting to forgive, then you are making progress!  Sometimes baby steps are required to get there but push forward!

Dealing with my molester and the family dynamic issue for 30 years wasn’t what I would have signed up for.  Waiting on the Lord to work out the details for 14 years after He told me He’d use my situation for good, was hard!  But I can tell you how thankful I am for waiting on Him and not jumping ahead.

I waited and prayed for my own healing.  I waited on my mom because God needed to work some miracles in her life before she was ready for me to share with the world – which He has done in miraculous ways!  If I had pushed this topic, book, etc years ago before it was the right time, it would have damaged my relationship with my mom and potentially others.  God’s timing is woven in intricate perfection.

I had to forgive the man that hurt me, my family, and my parents in order to move forward with life and finally feel peace.  What a relief to be able to release 30 years of pent up frustration, confusion, pain, and distrust.

None of this happened over night. My friend, do not grow weary in this fight! You can do it.  Don’t let others tell you that you can’t or that you never will.  Bitterness will try to tip-toe back into your life and other times it will get right in your face and scream at you because satan wants you to be held in bondage. He doesn’t want to see you claim victory and he knows if you are relying on Christ for it, then the victory is yours!

Memorizing scriptures is an important part of forgiveness.  Prayer and Scripture memorization likely hold hands and dance together!  They are best friends and you need both to be fully armed for this war.  The devil is a lion looking to devour you.  He’s hiding in the tall grass and watching and waiting for that one little show of weakness so he can pounce!  Be prepared for it.

There’s a reason Christ told Peter that he had to forgive so many times.  Christ knew Peter was going to have to do it over and over again.  We’re not exempt from this. We’re going to have to forgive over and over again.

Don’t let the same situation surprise you down the road when you feel bitterness start to creep in again.  Remind yourself of the promises you have in Christ and don’t allow your mind to dwell on being a victim.  Stand firm in Christ. Recite your memorized verses and pray about it.  Never let another human steal what the Creator has given to you. It’s your gift. No returns.  No re-gifting.  No theft.  Yours for keeps.

Here is just one Scripture with a promise in it.  Memorize it or choose another one that means something to you.  Spend time dwelling on that particular Scripture and pray for God to move your heart toward forgiveness.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32



7 Comments

  1. Well, God seems to like using your blog to bless me out gently.

    Today is a bad day. Quick history.
    I was raised Pentecostal, I think I’ve mentioned that. I have never been in complete agreement with the teachings of the religion. I find that Pastors and Preachers alike tend to peach their personal convictions across the pulpit and try to tell you you’re going to hell if you go against them. Those teachings cause many to see serving God as a chore instead of realizing the freedom in serving God. It becomes captivity to what I can and can’t do. Married at 19, I moved to Germany, and in trying to do the “right thing” I found a Pentecostal church that went against the norm, and for the first time in my life God began to reveal to me that it is not about appearance, it is about grace and mercy and His love. However, it is hard to rid yourself of such brainwashing, so I never gave my life to Christ. At 25, my marriage fell apart and I moved home. I have wandered in the world for 15 years. Drinking, smoking, carousing (i think I spelled that right) cussing, partying, etc. During this 15 years, I met and married my second husband and had our first and only child, and during this 15 years, God was always tugging at my heart, but I hadn’t “hit bottom” yet. Under certain circumstances, I began to drink more and more. It became a daily thing…or rather a MOST days thing. I didn’t stop till I didn’t care, and I would pour out my frustrations to God, but not trusting that He would do anything about it. Still, He kept knocking. I remember wanting to find a church to go to, but not knowing where to go, and then thinking things like…I can’t live for God right now. Most of my life is centered around social drinking. My mom and sisters were the people I partied with the most. The people I socialized with the most. So what did God do? He drew us all back at the same time! LOL!!! no kidding.
    I mentioned to my mom one night that I wanted to go to church and she, being recently re-married, told me that she and my step dad had attended service at a local church and really enjoyed it and were going back that Sunday. That’s been about 3 or 4 months ago. My sisters followed suit. My older sister was re-filled with the Holy Ghost the first Sunday she came with us!
    My husband has been working out of town for a while now, so all this has gone on and he hasn’t really been here for it. I knew when he came home, I would come under attack from the devil. My husband has done some very hurtful things over the years and I”m not real fond of my in-laws. I’ve harbored resentment, hate, dislike toward all of them for a while now, and when I began to give my life to God, I began to pray about it. My husband has recently come home and sure enough, I found myself being tested last night….and I failed. I was rude to my mother-in-law (with good reason, I promise ;o) ) and the arguement went on. My husband threw church in my face as well as the preacher, told me I was being brainwashed, etc. I’ve never been one to “turn the other cheek” and much as I tried last night, he just kept pecking and pecking until I let loose. I said some really awful things, but I meant them.
    I prayed on the way to work this morning that God would just let me feel His love today. I told Him that if I desperately needed to know He was with me today, that I knew I had to apologize, but I didn’t know how to apologize for something I wasn’t really sorry for. I told Him I was willing to do what it took to “get right” but I really didn’t know how to go about it, but that if He would make it loud and clear to me, I would do it.
    So here you are again….somehow right in sync with what I’m going through. I don’t know how to forgive. I don’t know how to turn the other cheek over and over and over and over and over…etc. I refuse to let the devil have me or my family though. So I’m pluggin on.
    Probly a little TMI (too much information) but I figure if I post it, it may help someone going through the same issues. Keep running to Jesus. That’s what I’m going to do. And I’m going to learn to forgive if it KILLS me.
    Thank you, Mel for this blog…..again.

    • Angie, I’m adding you to my prayer list! And this is why I write on these topics! Too often I think forgiveness as preached as if it just happens instantaneously and then when we are still feeling resentment, bitterness, etc, we think, well I guess God can’t change me. He changed her but He isn’t going to change me. It can be instant but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we’ll have to do it everyday, every minute, every hour, until it starts to give. The longer we’ve held onto it, may make it harder to fully untangle from. You keep pressing on. Keep praying. Trust Him to get you through it. He will. His word promises He will. You can do it with His help!

      Blessings,
      Mel

  2. Mel,
    Thank you so much! I can use all the prayer I can get right now and will certianly return the favor! God has used your blog to speak to me a couple of times now and it makes me feel spiritually close to you if that makes any sense at all! LOL
    I was raised with all the right information. I understand there is a spiritual warefare happening and the things that go on around us that we can not see, but we feel, are very real. My husband on the other hand was raised with a “works” type background. As long as your good (do unto others) you’ll make it to heaven. While we were arguing last night, I was trying to explain to him that I felt the devil was using him to pull me down, and I tried to explain to him spiritual warefare. Well, either I didn’t explain it very well, or because his Biblical knowledge is not as in depth as mine (I say that without arrogance) he didn’t understand, and instead gathered that I was telling him that he and the devil were the same. LOL!!! Sometimes I think that is truely the case! ;o)
    Thank you again for the encouragement and prayers, and thank you for being so plugged in to Jesus! I feel there is quite a bit I could learn from you!

    • I’m sorry I called you Angie above! Not sure why I did that 🙂 I’m trying to walk with the Lord but you know, I stumble just like everyone. Did you get my email earlier today?

      Blessings,
      Mel

      • Angie is fine! My family calls me Ang.

        I did recieve your e-mail. Thanks for the recomendations! I’m always looking for something to read that will be a spiritual help to me. I always prefer to have the actual book, and how lucky that I work right across the street from a christian book store!

        Thanks again!
        Ang

  3. This came at just the right time for me. I’m finally recognizing my need to forgive the people who hurt me. I can’t wait to tell my friend about your site because she’s recognizing her need to forgive the hurts in her past.

    • Lily that is fantastic! It’s certainly a process but sooo worth it! Thank you for encouraging ME today 🙂
      Blessings,
      Mel

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