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[this week, i'll be blogging about the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First by doug bender. big thanks to doug for the opportunity to preview this devotional and help spread the word. this is post 2 of 4.]
debt. forgiveness. mercy. pardoned. bitterness. entitlement. pride. humility.
let's just get this out there from the beginning. mercy....not my strong suit. definitely not the "one word" description anyone who knows me would offer. in fact, it's dead last with a big fat ZERO on every spiritual gifts test i've ever taken. i'm not joking. it's not that i don't care about you...i'm just of the mindset that, when things don't go your way, you need to put on your big girl panties and get on with life. not much sympathy here.
and i guess since we're on this honesty kick, i might as well confess that i'm also slow to forgive. i'm slow to trust, so if i trust you and then you wrong me, it's going to take me a hot southern minute to get over it and forgive you. meanwhile, some hefty seeds of bitterness have probably taken root and started to poke their little heads out of the ground. i'm not exactly proud of this, but it's the truth. so there ya have it.
i, bekah brinkley, do not show mercy and i am slow to forgive. but boy am i grateful that i have a God who does both.
now, who's with me? i know better than to think that i'm the only one that has trouble forgiving because she allows bitterness to creep in when her guard is down. however, when i catch myself in this destructive cycle of bitterness and unforgiveness, the Lord has been gracious enough to smack me in the face with the Truth. you know, the fact that He has forgiven me for far worse things than the silly ones i'm clinging to with white knuckles while standing on the soapbox of righteous indignation? yeah, that one.
"then the master called the servant in. 'you wicked servant," he said, 'i canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as i had on you?'"
forgiveness is never easy. it takes a certain level of humility because pride clings to the wound with a sense of entitlement. forgiveness is a choice to free yourself from the bondage of bitterness and that lovely little grudge you've been faithfully nursing for far too long. forgiveness heals. it doesn't always restore the relationship (because that takes two), but it puts your heart in right relationship with the Lord again. and that's what ultimately matters. as our author pal doug eloquently said,
"forgiveness is what lets hurts heal, relationships begin recovery, and life to move on. without it, loneliness will be our deepest friend, bitterness our home, and hurt our constant companion."
i don't know about you, but that's the life i long to lead. i nursed a bitter, entitled, and arguably justified wound for many years. and then the Lord graciously smacked me with His two by four of Truth. i was faced with the choice to forgive or to live in bitterness.
i chose forgiveness. i chose to live in grace and gratitude. i chose to forgive as He forgave me. will you do the same?
live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally.