A few years ago I found myself reeling from a painful situation where I had been hurt; indirectly, but nonetheless hurt by the actions of a person who I trusted and valued. I struggled between caring for this friend and longing for her healing, desiring the natural consequences that I felt she deserved. I started to realize that my lack of forgiveness was beginning to deeply impact me. I knew that I would not be able to trust her again, but could I forgive? I understood deep in my soul that I needed to have an honest conversation with God.

I decided to go for a long run on the beach where I could pour out my frustrations to God. As I ran along the shore, I felt the anger rise within me. Thoughts of confusion, frustration, bitterness, and resentment welled up inside. I recalled painful memories and how they had impacted me as well as others who had been hurt. I cried out to God, thinking I was trying to forgive, but in reality, there seemed to be something in me that wouldn’t let go of the pain.

After running a few miles and not feeling a bit of relief, I suddenly caught a glimmer of the sun shining on the ocean water just a few feet away. It stopped me in my tracks. I had been running hard and had not stopped even once to soak in the breathtaking grandeur of the ocean that stretched out for miles right next to me. At that moment I could hear God saying, “you are so unwilling to forgive, that you are missing one of your greatest joys; one of my greatest blessings to you here on earth”. He then reminded me of Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:26-27, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you’… for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

In that moment, my anger, my lack of forgiveness was only hurting me. By holding onto anger, I was also holding onto pain. Anger blocks the peaceful, healing balm that forgiveness brings. Forgiveness does not have to equal trust. Forgiveness is just transferring the right to bring justice over to God. Forgiveness is taking the foothold, that place from which to speak lies, away from the devil. Nothing about forgiveness is passive. It is actively giving control to God and allowing him to do his job.

Who is God calling you to forgive today? Is a lack of forgiveness poisoning your soul? Are you missing God’s blessings because of a need to control or hold onto pain? Right where you are, ask God for strength; you can’t do it on your own. Forgiveness is a beautiful gift from God. Forgiveness will set you free to experience God’s abundant love, peace, and grace.

Lynette Fuson
Director of Soul Care & Counseling

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