I had asked the question a million times, “What is forgiveness?”
Then, I’d asked another question, “Is it okay to be angry?”
My circumstances forced me out of the usual “don’t ever be angry” stance I tried to live by. Suddenly, life was so raw that I took a good look at Jesus’ feelings when He tipped over money tables and ordered the vendors out of His temple. (Matthew 21:12-13)
I pondered the fact that Jesus called mercy and truth to meet up, and righteousness and peace to unite. He wasn’t asking for mercy and peace only, but wanted it to unite with equal doses of righteousness and truth.
Seeing God’s mercy as it really is allows for nothing else. God is not only mercy; He is also truth. In fact, truth is merciful and mercy is truthful. In Christ, they cannot be separated.
God’s incredible mercy doesn’t blithely pass over murder, rape, abuse, or any other wrong we see in this world. And in all honesty, those who say “don’t judge” the most are often those who ask for judgement most when an offense happens to them.
God’s love doesn’t accept all things; it changes all things.
There are certain things love just doesn’t do. Those who are full of true love speak out against things that don’t line up with love.
The mantra “don’t judge and accept everyone” is very quickly used by quilty parties to project their own quilt onto those who dare speak up against wrong. This is such a far cry from what Jesus meant when He asked us not to judge each other that there is no comparison between the two.
Divine Love cannot “accept and not judge” things that hurt and harm the people He loved and died for. Love can only accept things that line up to the heart of God.
God is love and He gets to interpret the meaning of it.
I’ll never forget the day I was driving in my car while my little boy asked a million questions on life and God, when it suddenly all came together in my heart.
Forgiveness meant seeing God’s heart for the offender. In my situation, it also meant not being in denial, but saying yes when two sets of investigators asked to talk.
Then, it meant releasing the offender into the hands of God and those in charge while I walked free, having given it over after doing my part.
I’d met plenty of women who interpreted forgiveness as denial. After many years of pushing things to some back corner of their mind, they were still crying and trying to “forgive”.
I’d also met women who couldn’t stop talking about what happened to them and seemed bent on bringing justice while the offense was strewn around like some candy dangling in everyone’s eyes.
I wanted neither. How could mercy and truth meet up like Jesus talked about?
Sisters, the truth sets us free. The truth of everything, all the time, in all situations leads us to God’s solution for everything, all the time, in all circumstances.
Embracing the truth of hard things allows us to move from the hard into better things.
How can you find internal release from something you haven’t owned up to or dealt with? Denial cages your soul while truth brings you to freedom. Trust me, I know.
God’s remedy for women is never silent, voiceless suffering. It is always truth, help, and solutions.
My soul found an incredible release from my situation as I placed the outcome of all things into the hand of a God who cared for me and my children more than I can comprehend. I watched Him move, and hear me carefully on this—because I had done my part, I was able to let it go in complete trust.
When our soul finds absolute rest in the outcome of our circumstance, we know forgiveness has found its place.
Forgiveness is not denial; it is rest.
Forgiveness doesn’t accept all things; it leads us to release all things.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean shutting up when you need to speak up; it does mean speaking with grace and truth regardless of your circumstance.
In short, forgiveness is internally breaking free from your situation after you’ve walked through it, honestly dealt with it, then have put it behind you and moved on to better things.
Rather than become bitter, you become better.
You can think of the circumstance without being taken over by it. You can release both the offender and the offense to God while you reach out to good people, good things, and trust God to meet your needs as you put Him first in your life.
You are defined not by what happened to you, but by what you make of it.
Whatever you don’t let go of still holds you captive. But, whatever thing someone meant to hurt you with is undone when you release it and learn from it, instead. As Corrie Ten Boom says, “There is no pit so deep where God’s love isn’t deeper.
Forgiveness is a gift to yourself and an act of worship to God.