Fighting to Forgiveness
By Jennifer Slattery
“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:4
The deeper the wound and the longer we’ve harbored it, the harder it is to break free. But in Christ, we have everything we need to live victoriously.
One beautiful spring day, I was filled with joy and peace. My radio was on, playing Christian music, and I felt God’s presence so strong and so sure. But then, without warning, a memory resurfaced, triggering a surge of anger.
I struggled to make sense of the situation. I’d forgiven this person long ago. Hadn’t I?
At first I felt defeated. Maybe my forgiveness hadn’t been genuine. So I poured my heart out to God once again, asking Him to remove my bitterness, committing to, yet again, put the offense and offender behind me.
I’ve since learned forgiveness is rarely a one-time event, nor does it always begin with emotion. Rather, it stems from a decision followed by a desperate cry to God for help. We may need to make this cry, and this choice, again and again and again before that wound loses its power. But as we continue to draw near to our Savior, surrendering our hurts and all that swirls around them, He begins to align our feelings to match our choice.
This doesn’t mean we excuse our offender’s behavior, nor does this imply that their actions weren’t wrong. God commands us to forgive for our sakes—so that we can truly and completely live in love’s freedom. Forgiveness looses the hold other people’s sins have on us.
Each day, God invites us to trade hurt for healing, anger for forgiveness, and bitterness for peace. We grab onto life by drawing near to Christ in surrendered obedience, regardless how we feel. He takes care of the rest.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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