Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Forgiveness


Forgiving Yourself

A devotional by Ginger Solomon

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 
~1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NLT)

We talk about love a lot. It’s important. But I don’t want to talk about love today. Today, I’m taking a snippet from this familiar passage.

The end of verse 6 says, “it keeps no record of being wronged.”

Many of us are record keepers. We hold grudges for AGES.

The rest of us shrug and move on. I’m a shrugger. Yeah, you might hurt me, but I’ll love you anyway. That doesn’t mean I have to put up with you, though. Your attitude is not worth my time, my health, my brain power, or the wear and tear on my emotions. I have better things to do than hate you for the rest of my life.

And yet, I still keep a record of wrongs done.

Except the record is of MY wrongs, MY misdeeds, MY ill-spoken words, MY angry outbursts... The list could go on and on.

As I write this, my brain is filtering through the many things I’ve said and done. It’s a “little black book” of sins.

And yet, in so many places in the Bible, we are told to forgive. Most of them are referring to the hurts others commit against us, maybe even all of them. I didn’t check each and every one.

I think it’s MUCH easier to forgive others than it is to forgive myself for my shortcomings.

When I’m tired, I get grumpy. I snap. If I’m frustrated with something, I snap. When my hormones decide to play on the teeter-totter of my emotions, I snap. Sometimes, I can take myself away and regroup. Other times, well, I sin. *gasp* I ask forgiveness of whoever happens to be at the other end of my sharp tongue, but it doesn’t excuse the behavior in the first place. BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER.

So, I keep a mental black book of things I’ve done to hurt others. Sometimes I don’t even know I’ve done it. I was informed earlier in the month that I hurt someone I love. I didn’t know. I still don’t know what I did, but I apologized.

That same week, we had a guest pastor for our Wednesday evening service. I don’t remember everything he said, but this stuck out for me: “We can’t offer a hand of forgiveness to others unless we’ve forgiven ourselves.” If I’m too busy holding onto unforgiveness against MYSELF, I can’t offer forgiveness to someone else. Because if I don’t think I deserve forgiveness how can I offer it.

And honestly, I don’t deserve it. None of us do. But God gives it to us anyway, and if GOD can forgive me, who am I to think I don’t deserve to forgive myself.

Psalm 103:12(NLT) says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Do you know the east and the west NEVER meet? If you travel east, you will never reach west and vice versa.

So back to 1 Corinthians 13. If LOVE never keeps a record of wrongs, why don’t we love ourselves enough to forgive our own sins?

It’s a struggle. One I deal with daily. I’m still learning. I’m still growing. And that’s okay. I’ll never be perfect this side of heaven, but I’m going to keep walking in that direction. I’m going to keep following the Savior. I’m going to apply what He’s teaching me through His word and through His messengers.

My Prayer: Father God, help us forgive ourselves. Help us to burn our little, black books of wrongs done to others. And if we keep one for the wrongs done to us, help us to forgive those people and rid ourselves of the baggage of unforgiveness. It’s a weight we were never meant to carry, and we . . . I lay it down at the foot of the cross right now. I forgive me. I release me. Amen.

~*~
Author Bio:
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). 

She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

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