Overnight I received the following message:

"Thank you so much for your online material. I was just speaking with a friend about having trouble forgiving a family member. That exact family member ended up coming to work at my location. I knew when I saw them God was speaking to me to deal with my own heart and let go of the hurt, anger and frustration and leave everything in God’s had. I thank you for your honestly of how to pray for them when you don’t want to."

Isn’t this just like the Lord? We have an issue with a family member who has hurt us so the Lord puts that family member squarely in our path so we have see them every single day. That forces us to make a choice. Will we remain bitter or will we by God’s grace be filled with kindness, compassion and grace, forgiving them as Christ himself has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). 

As I grow older (and hopefully a bit wiser) I can see how kind God has been to me in this same way. When I don’t want to deal with an issue, the Lord in his mercy (sometimes it is a severe mercy) puts that issue in front of me again and again and again. Sometimes it’s just like this message says—he puts a difficult person in front of me so that I will have to deal with them, thus teaching me patience and kindness and the importance of forgiveness.

Or if I won’t deal with the issue one way, he will bring it back another way. This is part of God’s patience with us, his failing, faltering, stumbling, all-we-like-sheep-have-gone-astray children

The person who wrote me has seen the goodness of God and experienced the healing power of forgiveness. Here is the material she read that helped her out. If you are struggling with forgiveness, maybe it will help you too.

I want to end by giving thanks to God who loves us too much to let us stay the way we are. He sends the people who bug us into our path time and again so that we will learn to love them the way he loves us. 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.