For the last week or so, the Lord has been filling my mind with the word “forgiveness.” It seems forgiveness has been the theme of many recent blog posts I have read, and the need for forgiveness is evident in many lives around us. All you need to do is open your eyes and heart to the pain that so many are suffering, and you will see that the source of that pain lies in the refusal to just let go.
Satan is happily and cleverly deceiving us. We are being fooled into thinking that we are “punishing” those who have offended or hurt us when we tightly hold onto the sadness, bitterness, anger and confusion. We are living under deception when we hold grudges and wish harm on others because of their transgressions.
I have even heard Christians loudly proclaim that they hope a person “burns and rots in hell” because of the nature of their crimes.
Only the Lord knows a person’s heart. Only the Lord knows the journey that person has traveled and where his journey will lead. Only the Lord will make the Final Judgment.
Are we forgetting the conversion of Saul, the persecutor and murderer?
9 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” Acts 9:1-20
Until a person’s last breath is taken, there is always the possibility of conversion. There is always the hope that they will open their heart to the saving grace of Jesus. That is the reason why we must pray for those that have wronged us…pray for and love our enemies. We must be blessings to all, and love all.
Why are we so afraid to trust the Lord and His love for us? We claim that we love Him and recite Bible verses; however, we stubbornly and greedily hoard a list of wrongs in our hearts. Those wrongs may have been horrendous, hateful actions or words against us, or maybe perceived offenses that we carry within ourselves.
Let it go!
Forgive those who hurt and offended you, no matter how grievous it was. Forgive yourself, for whatever it is that Satan constantly accuses you of. If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive and let go, confess that to the Lord, and give the whole situation to Him. Ask Him to fill your heart with His love, and to help you pray for that person who hurt you.
Satan knows that when you keep your heart filled with resentment, hate, anger, bitterness, sadness, and confusion, there is little room for the Holy Spirit. Stop feeding into Satan’s lies and deceptions that keep your heart and life in darkness.
Take a true step in faith. No matter what your feelings are, no matter how deep the pain is, make the decision to forgive. And pray that The Holy Spirit fills your heart with light and love so intense that it spills over to the souls suffering in darkness.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32