The deeper the hurt, the harder it can be to forgive, and many times, nothing breaks our heart and initiates a desire to fight back quite like when we see those we love being treated unfairly. We women have a fierce nurturing side, one that can easily leave us vulnerable to bitterness, if we’re not careful.
Today our guest author Kristen Terrette shares a time when wounds her daughter experienced cause her Momma Bear to rise up, nearly squelching the love residing in her heart, and how God met her there, showing her a better way—His way.
From an early age, we’re told to offer and ask for forgiveness, but often it’s hard to do so or truly feel this in our hearts.
In the story of the unmerciful servant found in Matthew 18:21, Peter asks Jesus, “Lord how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?” And then he adds, “Seven times?” (NLT)
I love Peter. He reminds me of myself. I imagine Jesus had a few loving laughs over Peter’s responses and questions the three years they were together. I can see Him smiling at Peter and answering, “Not seven times… but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:22 NLT).
Jesus’ makes it clear that forgiveness is always the expected response.
So why was forgiveness heavy on my heart? A week ago, my middle school-aged daughter found out a student and teammate was spreading a rumor about her. This was a lie, and hurtful to not only her, but to another teammate as well. To make matters more difficult, this was a teammate she’d already had some not-so-happy dealings.
So there I was—an adult, a wife, a mom, a woman in ministry—mad as a hornet about this injustice towards my daughter.
And yet, Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (NLT) I was suffocating love, the first and greatest commandment from Jesus, and allowing this incident, the UN-forgiveness I was carrying inside my heart, to ruin my whole week. I thought about this rumor constantly, about what I wanted to say to this student, her mother, their coach… I dwelled on the negativity stemming from this.
Proverbs 17:9 put me in my place like only the Scripture can, and I went to God to flush my un-forgiveness from my heart. I went into prayer-mode. I needed to stop fuming and go to Him about it. I needed to tell Him how hurt I was, ask Him to help me get over my anger, and ask Him to help my daughter and her classmate figure out how to move forward.
Job 11:13-16 says, “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away.” (NLT)
Jesus promises in John 7:38, when we come to Him, “Rivers of living waters will flow from His heart.” (NLT) Prayer bursts open wide this Living Water, so it can flow outward, affecting everyone in its path. It washes all things, brings them back to life, soothes any pain, and removes any stain.
Like Peter, I’m a work-in-progress, and I imagine Jesus has plenty of loving grins over my responses and actions. But after turning to Him in prayer, I felt free again, unbound by the chains of my un-forgiving heart.
Are you trapping His Living Water from flowing outward with your un-forgiving heart? Heed Job’s words. Go to Him and get busy flushing it out.