Instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as
God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:32
“What does your dad do for a living?”
Growing up, this was the question I dreaded more than any other. Because you see, I grew up without a dad.
The truth is that I don’t need to share details or all the reasons why I didn’t have my biological father in my life. But because of hard, bad things that happened in that relationship when I was very young, it would be safe to say that I hated him.
And I refused to forgive him for what had been done. I was bitter and continued to dwell in my pain. Pain that became like a prison cell to me.
Because, friend, that’s exactly what bitterness and unforgiveness does in your heart. It entraps you in a cell for something someone else did wrong. And it keeps you there--trapped inside your pain, unable to move forward.
I understand that, because that was me.
I was dwelling in the tents of bitterness and hatred. I was punishing myself instead of my biological father. It did not affect him at all. But it was affecting me.
I remember looking at this verse one day and it just struck me differently. I’d heard so much about forgiveness. Memorized all the verses, read all the books, heard all the stories.
But when I read this verse, something changed:
...forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:32
Just as my biological father had hurt me so deeply, I had also broken the heart of God with every sin I had ever committed in my life--every time I chose myself over Him.
And He had forgiven me.
Through Christ, He had washed me white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) He took every one of my sins and cast them as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) He had forgiven me and restored my relationship with Him.
Who am I to refuse someone else forgiveness?
I’m not telling you it was easy. But I am telling you that forgiveness tastes a whole lot like freedom.
Although I did not restore the relationship with my biological father, I did forgive him and I no longer hate him. It’s a daily battle, but by God’s grace it’s one I’m fighting every day.
I don’t know your particular situation. I don’t know who it is in your life that God is calling you to forgive. But I do know that God won’t leave you to do this alone. He will give you His strength, if you only ask Him.
Forgiveness opens the prison door of your pain and allows you to step into the freedom of your future, instead of staying stuck in the past.
Won’t you step through the door today?
1. Can you think of someone in your life today who you need to extend forgiveness towards? 2. Why do you think it is difficult for you to step into forgiveness?
Dear Jesus, thank You for forgiving me and loving me so much. Thank You for washing my sins white as snow. Please, help me today to extend that same forgiveness to the people around me. Please, help me to let bitterness go and love with Your love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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