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Girlfriends in God - Sept. 25, 2008

September 25, 2008
God’s Healing Salve
Part 1
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

Friend to Friend
When I was a little girl, my grandmother kept a jar of mentholated salve at the ready.  No matter what the nature of the ailment or the cause, grandma pulled out the salve and rubbed the slimy goop all over my injury.  Not only was it slimy, but the smell alone was enough to scare off any germs or bacteria that dare pass the epithelial walls of my skin.

God has a salve as well.  It is called forgiveness.

Forgiving those who have hurt or abused us is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of healing, but without it, I do not believe we can ever be free to find the beauty and purpose in the scars of our past.  Actually, without extending forgiveness, I believe the wound may not be able to heal at all.  Each time we remember what was done to us or what was said and how it was said, or how we were wronged, we pick at the scab of offense and reopen the wound.

“Unforgiveness can be likened to a parasite; it feeds on the anger and hurt of its host, finding its most satisfying nourishment in human pain.  It thrives on the cycle of replayed scenes, recalled anguish, and rehashed justification for holding fast to grudges.  Essentially, unforgiveness grows plump on our desire for revenge.”(Diane Dempsey Marr, Ph.D., The Reluctant Traveler (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002), p.113.)

While many of us don’t exactly plan to exact revenge, we somehow think that holding on to the unforgiveness is revenge enough. Ironically, the person whom we refuse to forgive most likely doesn’t even care or even know we’re carrying the unforgiveness around.  The only person being hurt when I choose not to forgive is…me.  The only person being hurt when you choose not to forgive is…you. It is as if we are hitting our own heads against the wall in order to punish the other person.

The Greek word for forgiveness is aphieme.  One meaning of the word is to “let go of from one’s power, possession, to let go free, to let escape.”   It means to cut someone loose! The opposite of forgiveness – unforgiveness - means to tie someone on.  Just think about it.  When we choose not to forgive, we tie the person to our backs, lugging around the heavy burden of hate, bitterness or revenge.  No wonder some of us are not running the great race of life very well.  It’s difficult trying to run with all that baggage.

As we move along the journey of discovering peace and purpose in the pain of our past, this is where many decide the terrain grows a bit too rugged to traverse. “That is too hard for me,” the weary traveler moans.  “I don’t like that road,” the rebellious sojourner protests. “Isn’t there another way?” the reluctant traveler begs.

Unfortunately, forgiveness is the only path to freedom.  When you think about it, forgiveness is the only way to freedom for all of us.  From the time we were born, each and every one of us is slaves to sin.  We didn’t become a sinner the first time we did something wrong.  We were born in sin with a live body, but a dead spirit.  Because of that sin, we were separated from God.

But God didn’t leave us as aliens doomed to a life of slavery and eternity in hell. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, who lived a perfect life, died as a sacrifice for our sins, and rose again to reign forever. He didn’t wait until we were “good enough,” for that day would never come. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  God took the biggest obstacle in our lives, our own sinful heritage, and actually changed our spiritual DNA.  “If you confess with your mouth, “‘Jesus is Lord,’” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) God sets us free the moment we believe.

But what does that have to do with forgiving the person who hurt us?  Everything. The Bible says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)  I’m going to stop right here today.  We need to ponder how much we have been forgiven.  Join me tomorrow as we continue to look at the power of forgiveness.

Let’s Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot begin to express the joy and gratitude I feel for the way You extended grace to me.  Thank You for forgiving me of my sin.  Thank You for accepting me as Your child.  I love You.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Read Luke 7:36-50 and ponder the following questions:

  • What did this woman do?
  • Why was the woman so grateful?
  • What blessing did Jesus give her as she left?  “Go in __________.”
  • Now, after this experience, how many grudges do you think she held against other people?

More from the Girlfriends
God’s forgiveness is an amazing thing to ponder.  If you would like to learn more about God’s forgiveness and about your identity as a child of God, see Sharon’s book, Experience the Ultimate Makeover.  His grace is the key to becoming spiritually beautiful in Christ!

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