WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FORGIVE

Why is it so hard to forgive?

I have been asking myself this question lately.  Why is it so hard to forgive people whether it is big or small?  If Jesus calls us to always forgive, why don’t we have the heart that makes it simple and easy?  It comes down to a couple of different revelations that I have had over the last few days.

1)      We are selfish people through and through.  We live with a sinful heart that just can’t completely understand the magnitude of what forgiveness does.  We forget that we want and need forgiveness on a daily basis, yet why should we extend that hand of grace to others?  We feel entitled to get what we are owed.  We should get an apology or what is due to us because we deserve it.  There are so many times where I have been stubborn in my forgiveness because I felt that I was owed something all while forgetting what Christ did for me.

2)      We feel that by forgiving someone by definition means we need to be friends or reconnect some sort of relationship with them.  This is more understandable with the major hurts in our lives.  Maybe you were abused at some point in your life, or an unspeakable thing has been done to you.  Maybe your spouse or significant other cheated on you during your relationship.  Whatever it may be it is extremely hard to forgive someone that has done some major damage to your heart and soul.  The truth of the matter is though that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean reconciling with them. This is a long process that happens through time.  We can forgive someone but still decide that a relationship with that person is not possible, or we can put boundaries up. 

3)      We forget the ultimate act of forgiveness that was given to us personally.  In the back of my mind I know that Christ died for me and what a sacrifice that was, but when I am in the midst of being angry with someone I forget really what type of sacrifice it was.  I truly believe that if we could humanly grasp the full concept of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, and we could keep that at the forefront of our mind, then we would be able to have a heart that forgives a little more easily.

4)      We think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person we are forgiving.  My very imperfect mind will always say at first, why should that person deserve my forgiveness when they can’t apologize?  My big a-ha moment was when I realized that the act of me forgiving someone was not to give them a gift or to bless them, it is was an actual gift and blessing to myself.  Caring around a torch of anger, frustration, or disappoint for someone lays a burden on your shoulders that takes a toll on you.  God doesn’t want you to carry that burden.  He wants you to be free from the shackles hate and rage.  God always wants us to glorify Him by the act of forgiveness.

There are so many things that we do that need forgiveness.  I couldn’t imagine having to try and forgive someone who abused me, or cheated on me.  I know that there are so many of you out there that struggle with not understanding the pure evil that may have been done to you.  You struggle with the anger and the questions of why me?  And now you get angry with the very fact that God is calling you to forgive that person when we all know very well that they don’t deserve it.  I can’t stand here and try and understand that level of forgiveness, but I do know that God is a loving God and He wants us to heal through living a life that remains in Him.  Forgiving someone is not a gift that we are to give to that other person.  It becomes a blessing from God to us when we give the anger and hurt to Him to carry leaving us to be able to live a life that is filled with His love and joy.

We here at Women180 are praying for you right now.  Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we are called to do, but nonetheless called to do by God.  It is a continuous struggle that never gets easier.  We pray that you lean on God for wisdom and guidance and for Him to show you the way.

Matthew 18:21-22 says Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Courtney Kacer

Legacy

We are coming up on one of the most important days for mankind.  That’s right… Easter is here and it is not all about Easter bunnies, egg hunts, and Easter baskets.  It is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The moment in history where God sent His only son to die on the cross while we were still sinners.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

This is a time where we are reminded of the sacrifice that God gave for us to be able to have a relationship with Christ.  Wow… what a feeling of conviction.  It lays heavy on my heart each year around this time and makes me truly put my life into perspective of what I am doing to glorify Christ and serve Him in full surrendering and a thankful heart.

Jesus left quite the legacy when He left this earth to join His Father on the right side of the throne.  Spreading the good news of God and how sovereign He is and showing the way to eternal life.  His ministry was just about 3 years long, but when it came down to it He was obedient in dying on the cross for us while we were sinners.  You may say that this was the most important moment in history, but the fact that He was resurrected just 3 days later was the actual miracle.  His resurrection is what sealed the deal.  Christ’s works and his death to save all of us that choose to surrender ourselves to Him and believe in Him is His legacy.  His legacy was to serve others, love others, and die for us.

For even the son of man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28

We can never live to out do Christ’s legacy, but this brings me to thinking about what my legacy will be and what do I want it to be?  Some people live for the success, or money, or family and loved ones.  Some people choose for their legacy to be known as always helping others.  What ever it may be we should think about our legacy.  What do we want to be known for?

It is hard for me to imagine that by God’s grace, we have been saved and forgiven for all our sins, past, present, and future.  I find myself trying to work for it sometimes especially when I start to feel convicted for my own sin.  I naturally am prone to thinking about what I can do to make it right.  The great news on this is that due to God sending his only son to die for our sins that we are saved, not by the work we do, but purely by His grace that He has provided.  Jesus’ resurrection has healed us. 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

Healing…As Christ has healed us through His wounds, we can help to heal others.  As children of God we have a responsibility to bring people to Christ and help them and ourselves grow.  Our legacy should involve setting an example as children of God so that we may share God’s love, mercy, and grace with the world.  If we can do that, we can help bring people to Christ and ultimately connecting them to the true healing that only Jesus can provide.

So yes, I want to be known for success, family, and helping others when I can, but those are all bi-products of what we should be aiming to build our legacy.  Our legacy, should not be meant to leave on this world, but should be meant to bring with us to our eternal life and to God.  When I see Jesus for the first time I want to see him smile and hear him say “Well done my good and faithful servant!”  I think ultimately if we have that in mind as we are building our legacy for Him, then our legacy will be exactly what we want left here on earth.  People saying that they saw God’s blessings on them for continuing to strive to Glorify God on a daily basis.  That we made a difference in people’s lives by showing them God’s love.  That is the legacy that I want to build for myself.

So as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ today, think about what you are doing in your life and what type of legacy you are building for yourself.  Is it in line for what Christ calls us to do?  Is it truly what you want it to be?  Do you need to make some changes in your life?  As Jesus Christ’s legacy is healing us through His death, then we can help bring others to healing through His love.  

 

But...He Stole My Parking Spot

Many are the Plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  

Proverbs 19:21

Christmas can be a very chaotic and busy time for all of us.  I was really excited for the month of December as I had recently resigned from my overwhelming job and was going to take a couple of months off to decompress and re-prioritize my life.  It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and the malls were packed.  I had just enjoyed a great lunch with a friend and I was going to enjoy doing some shopping.  As I was on walking to my car to drive to the mall I was on the phone with a friend giving her some advice on how to deal with a situation at work, telling her to do what she thought God would want her to do.  Was her actions going to shine God’s light and give him the glory?  Even though the situation may not be fair to us we as christians are responsible for how we respond to those situations.  Philip Yancey said in his book Vanishing Grace, “the issue is not whether I agree with someone but rather how I treat someone with whom I profoundly disagree.  We Christians are called to use the “weapons of grace,” which means treating even our opponents with love and respect.”

I hung up the phone and proceeded to drive over to the mall.  People were waiting for others to walk to their cars so they could take their parking spot.  I was patiently waiting for a parking spot and just as the people pulled out a truck zoomed around me and took it.  I was furious and proceeded to be not so nice to the person who just stole my spot through my windshield.  My heart was pounding.  I was so angry and I then sped off to go find another parking spot.  Ten minutes after I had just given advice to my friend on how we need to show God’s love, here I was screaming at this man who stole my spot.  I did not show God’s love in that moment, but God wanted to teach me a lesson.  

Out of all the stores in the mall this person ended up in the same store as me, and not only in the same store, but the same section of the store.  So I circled the store a few times and got all of the items that I needed except the toaster.  I needed a special toaster and he was still there.  I knew that if I went over into that section I would open up my mouth again and the things that would come out would still not be so pretty, so I decided I would just come back to the store another day.  I go to get in line and who do you think comes strolling in line right after me?  That’s right, the man who stole my parking spot.  Out of the six lines that were open he chose my line.  Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?  I eventually go to my car and start to make my way out of the parking lot and I keep replaying this whole situation through my head.  I knew I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did to him, but HE STOLE MY PARKING SPOT!!  As I am trying to rationalize my behavior and trying to make it ok, I am waiting to turn out of the parking lot, but there is a truck waiting for someone to let him in.  I get up closer and it’s the same man?!  At this point I am talking very loudly to God out loud in my car and asking Him the purpose of all of this, and I quietly hear Him whisper to me, show my love and grace to him as I have shown to you.  Ouch, that hurt.  My heart softened immediately and I waved him in.  He said thank you and we went our own way.

I had my own plan that day.  I wanted to enjoy the day shopping, and I wanted to remain angry and justified with how I dealt with the situation, but God wanted to teach me something.  He wanted to show me that I needed to treat people with the same grace that he has shown me.  So I got to thinking, how often do we not show the grace of God to others?  How often do we get inpatient with employees at stores and servers at restaurants?  Do we give attitude when we have to do something we don’t want to do or do we serve others with a gracious heart? I know I am guilty of not living a gracious life. I want to take this year and work on showing God’s grace and love through my actions.  Will you join me?  Let’s pour out God’s love and spread his good news through changing our hearts and attitudes as we go out into this world day in and day out.