Recently, as I sat in worship I was pondering the greatness of God’s love for me, what little we can actually comprehend, and I went back to about 14 years ago. It was a painful time in my life, but the love of God was ever present and ever pursuing me. The key to much of my freedom over the years hasn’t just been receiving the forgiveness of Christ, but forgiving those who wounded me deeply…even forgiving myself.
I think about the women I work with, beautiful, precious and brokenhearted. For some, the greatest steps of healing they will walk through will be to forgive those who exploited, abused and wounded them deeply. While those will be some of the hardest steps to make they will also be some of the most freeing. I love the quote floating around about how keeping unforgiveness in your heart is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, because it is true. Nothing binds so much as unforgiveness. Maybe that is why the journey of forgiving seems daunting, painful and at times unattainable, because it is possibly one of the most freeing journeys to make.
Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’” That seems to fit with Jesus’ final words on the cross, “It is finished.”
The cross doesn’t just represent freedom, but forgiveness.
Jesus made that journey over 2000 years ago. It was the hardest journey anyone would ever have to make. He took each step strengthened by the power of His Father and the Holy Spirit and His passionate love for us. His journey of forgiveness paved the way so that we could make that same journey of forgiveness that leads to freedom. Remember that love keeps no record of wrongs…that means forgiveness is an act of love. Jesus went through the ultimate act of love…He forgave and still does today. I don’t believe that forgiveness is so much about loving those who hurt you, but more about loving yourself enough to let go.
Let’s follow that lead and walk in the freedom He intends. Take the journey that leads to a whole heart. During this month of “love,” make a decision to love yourself a little better…you are worth it.