Years ago Hal and I went to a "Basic Youth Conflict" Seminar by Bill Gothard. I think it has a different name now. (I am talking YEARS ago) But one particular truth that was taught has stayed fresh in my mind and life. Probably because it is one that comes up often.
It is this: "Taking up an offense" - God does not give us grace to deal with an offense that we take up. Now, what do I mean by this? I mean someone else's offense.
Maybe the reason I have held on to it... and have had to deal with it so much ... is that I am a MOM.
Mother Bear and her Mother bear claws come out when someone offends one of my children or my husband. It happens instantly. I do not have to work on it. I do not have to practice it. I do not have to work it up. It is there. Immediately.
What I do have to work at is letting it go. I have to work at laying it at the feet of my Savior. I have to work on leaving it there. I have to work at forgiving. And it is HARD WORK. For you see... God does not give me grace to deal with an offense that I take up. It is not my offense. I have just taken it. I want to fix it. I want to appeal to God for Him to fix it. ... (or maybe He could zap someone... )
I am just being real here, ok?
But follow me... that is why the offended one can forgive much quicker. God gives them grace to do so. That is why the offended one can forget. GRACE.
So... I just tell you this. Sometimes God grants us what we do not deserve. Sometimes He allows (or maybe I should say requires) the offender to ask forgiveness of those who have taken up the offense. Sometimes our Savior knows...that will help with a little deeper healing of those deep, deep wounds.
Now, please don't spend your time trying to figure out my wounds. Just let God deal with you and yours. For you see, we all have them. And we could get in a "one up" contest. Or a "that's nothing" contest.
That comes back to the original topic. Forgiveness. WE are called to forgive. We will display God's Glory when we do.
Ok.... Now... Can I really be transparent for just a minute?
I have had a really hard situation to deal with for several years. I have had an offense that I took up... and I knew it. I was and I guess will always be a MOMMA BEAR. I do have MOMMA BEAR CLAWS. I tried for years to let it go. I have prayed. I have taken it to the alter. I have picked it back up and carried it back with me.
But I finally forgave. I finally let it go. And then, I finally had a little healing. The scar was still large but the wound was healed. And I KNEW that healing was taking place becauce I was finally able to begin praying for the offender. Finally able to see them and not get physically sick to my stomach. Finally able to talk to them and not feel a knot in my throat...or have my heart drop to my feet.
Then... God gave me what I did not deserve... they had the willingness - by the prompting of the Spirit - to ask for forgiveness. To apologize and ask for us (Hal and me) to forgive them. What a release! What a breath of fresh air! What a freedom! What a gift. For I know that I was not the offended one. Oh, don't get me wrong... I was hurt... I was affected. But I also was on the outskirts of the situation looking in.
Thank you Jesus - for more than I deserved. Thank you Jesus for freedom. Thank you Jesus for healing. Thank you Jesus for preparing my heart ahead of time so that I would be ready to forgive. Really forgive.