Learning What Forgiveness Means

model-2079935_640I figure things out by writing. Sometimes my journals are filled with random thoughts and events from the day, sometimes it’s just venting frustrations, or counting all the many blessings I have.

I can’t pretend to be any good at it, but writing is a way of connecting with my soul. It’s a way to find out what lies deep inside me, sometimes I’m afraid of that darkness, sometimes I’m so afraid that I run, that I chase it away and avoid it, but that’s no way to find healing. We must bring even those darkest things to light, that’s the only way God can cleanse us. Not that He isn’t powerful, but that He isn’t abusive and He won’t force Himself on us. We have to be willing. We have to take that first step.

The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with some very challenging issues, emotions, and I’ve realized the weight and depth of my own sin. This is very painful for me, I want to be better than that. But I’m not. Knowing that I’ve hurt people, or that I’ve caused pain, or that I still harbor shame and resentment, I just don’t know what to do with it most of the time.

But God uses it. And He strengthens me. It’s like each time I fall I come up stronger, more solid and secure, more sure of the truth.

There’s great power in love. Great power in forgiveness and compassion. I think sometimes we are, or at least I am, afraid to forgive or let things go, because in my mind I have a hard time separating forgiveness and trust. Forgiving is a submitting to God, and handing over the results to Him. Trust, well trust is a different matter. Forgiveness might require trust in God, but it in no way requires trusting the other person.

Of course the relationship dynamic plays a role in that, but we have to be wise. There are some cases where it’s nothing but pure foolishness to trust the ones who have hurt us. I don’t believe that that’s what God wants for us. Because if we continue to walk in darkness, then we’re not walking in the light. God never wants us to turn away from Him. He’s called us to “come out from among them” to “be separate.” This also requires humility, that we may look at our own lives, our own failings, and to give those to God. But each one is responsible for himself.

I still wrestle with these concepts. I can consciously know that forgiveness and trust are two separate things, and yet, there’s still a fight inside, that I can’t emotionally make sense of it. That I’m still afraid to forgive because I’m afraid of foolishly allowing myself to walk back into a bad situation.

I want freedom. Freedom can only come through trusting God. And sometimes, that even includes trusting Him with all my filth, all my shame, and trusting Him to provide and take care of me, loosening myself from the chains of unforgiveness, yet having the wisdom to step back and no longer enter into destructive and damaging relationships. It’s not my place to save them. After all, I can’t even save myself.

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