How do I even start?
This week I received the devastating news that a good friend and co-worker had passed away.
Does my heart hurt? Yes.
Do I understand? No.
But what I do understand is this..
Life is short. So short in fact that we can be here one moment, and gone the next.
I know, I have been there, I’ve experienced it first hand.
It’s sobering, a wake up call. How much hurt and unnecessary pain do we hold onto? How many offences are we unwilling to cover with grace?
It’s actually not ok.
Once, I was in an incredibly painful position, I had been accused of something so wild that wasn’t even true, and it was even taken to my Pastors at the time, I could have had to say goodbye to everything I felt God call me to! Was I hurt? YOU BET, was I angry? You wouldn’t even know!
I was FUMING!
But one of my pastors said to me ‘oh Chantelle, looks like you have a bit of an attitude towards ______’
Oh really?! Thanks for pointing out the obvious!?
I thought I had forgiven him, but there was still bitterness in my heart and an attitude towards him. My Pastor then told me I had no choice but to forgive. So, I wailed, not just the tears rolling down the cheeks kind of cry, but the ugly face kind of cry, then I would burst out laughing, then I’d cry / laugh at the same time, then I’d cry then laugh again.
My internal dialogue was this:
Me: I DONT WANT TO FORGIVE
Lord: But remember how much I’ve forgiven you of?
Me: BUT I DONT WANT TO
Lord: Do you want to be free?
Me: HE DOESNT DESERVE FORGIVENESS
Lord: Do you?
Me: BUT LORD WHAT HE DID WAS AWFUL
Lord: But do you remember how much I’ve forgiven you?..
This went on for at least an hour, my Pastor holding my hand – definitely thinking ‘what a weirdo!’ God won the argument (obviously).. (after an hour) and I forgave and chose my own freedom, and I genuinely love that person and even have a great relationship with them now!
Holding on to un-forgiveness and bitterness is like giving your freedom away to the other person. Joyce Meyer says,
‘Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’.
Is it easy? No, but it is a choice. Sometimes when I would see that person, I would feel a rage of emotion about to erupt like a volcano but my spiritual dad would say to me, ‘Chantelle, you have to remind yourself that you’ve already forgiven, and choose love.’
Around the start of this year, I hired a new young lady to work with me, she turned out to be a beautiful friend. I was blessed to be able to share the real Jesus with her and lead her into relationship with Him. She is now in paradise with Him. It was sudden and unexpected but I am so deeply thankful that God trusted me with His daughter, to share the truth and see her in eternal life with Him.
How many people are in your world right now that need a little light? Don’t wait till tomorrow to share the goodness of our Kind Father! Step out! Be courageous! Let go of your fear of rejection, THEY CANT REJECT YOU WHEN THE FATHER HAS ACCEPTED YOU! When I shared His love for my beautiful friend, she sobbed all day and was filled with joy!
We don’t know how many people’s salvation are on the other side of our ‘yes’. We are here, on earth for that very reason!
KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE!
Love and keep on loving! Share and keep on sharing! Shine and keep on shining! Forgive! And keep on forgiving! May our life’s story be ‘no matter what they did towards me, I never changed the way I loved them.’
THATS grace. THATS the gospel. THATS Jesus.
Without strings attached.
It’s KINDNESS that leads man to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Forgiveness also allows us to see people for who they really are in the eyes of God, not for the mistake they made, or a season they’ve walked through, or the pain they once carried.
5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:5-
How many people have left community because they’ve been overwhelmed with sorrow that their actions have caused pain? I’m not giving permission for poor behaviour, but what I am saying, is that ‘forgiveness restores the standard.’ (Danny Silk) AND to withhold forgiveness is to be outwitted by satan?!?! (vs 11).
Love is the mark of true maturity. (Colossians 3:14)
Are we truely mature?
Does this really matter? Is this eternal?
If the answer is ‘no’ then, LET IT GO!
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17
Life is sometimes – most times, unexpected, short, BUT it’s also a gift. We can’t bank on tomorrow, we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Do the people you love, know you love them? Have the people in your world heard the good news? Do they know there’s a Kind Father who loves them without condition?
Step out! Love someone today. Forgive someone today. Be a light somewhere today! Let God heal your heart and make a decision to ‘never change the way you love’ someone no matter what.
They might be here today, but what about tomorrow?..