Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Make a Long Story Short...

**This is a continuation of yesterday's post, which was a continuation of the previous day's post, which a get the point. This story started here, if you want to take a look back.**

Over the course of the next several days, every one of the men sitting in that half circle around me asked for forgiveness for the wrong that they had done. God's math is interesting sometimes (read: all the time), as I had demanded, in my anger and hatred, the humble act of three men. I held on to this grudge in my heart, wanting three guilty men to beg for forgiveness from me. Instead, God sent 8 men, all carrying around a burden too great for them to bare, in the roughest of situations, who sought forgiveness from some who simply represented their sin. They didn't hurt me. They were not my offenders. But God showed me what it looked like to release someone from their pain.

The simple act of forgiveness.

But the strangest part of it was that it was more cathartic for me than I imagine it was for them. Each time I spoke the words, a chunk of black rot fell away from my heart, revealing the vibrant red lifeblood flowing beneath it. Each time I said, "You are forgiven," my burden got lighter as well. It's as if the weight of hatred and anger and bitterness had actually caused my back to hunch over, forcing me to face the ground, always looking down. The bitterness was so heavy that it forced me to walk hunched over, never able to lift my shoulders nor my eyes to even see what has in front of me. All I could see was the ground below me, and the hunched over shadow that was cast on it.

But as I gave out forgiveness, some of that burden fell away, and I could stand a little taller. As I spoke it again, my shoulders moved a little more. And as the weight became lighter, it became easier to shake it off, easier to forgive as I realized that it was blessing me just as much, if not more. By the time most of the black, rotten hatred had fallen away, I could lift my head up and actually look around, even look up toward the One who had forgiven me.

All that time, I had thought that forgiving meant letting someone off the hook. But it turns out that they're not on my hook to begin with. Forgiving doesn't release them, it releases me to stand tall again. It releases my heart to love again, to laugh again, to even trust again. It releases me to truly share in the sufferings of Christ, enduring that which was not deserved, but saying, "Forgive them Father. They know not what they do." All that time, I didn't know that forgiving them would release me back to freedom, and had nothing to do with them, other than blessing them.
Remember the violet? That precious flower released the sweetest perfume only after being crushed, after feeling the full weight of hatred. The sweetest part of the bloom was given up as a blessing for the one that crushed it. And that blessing is carried on to others. Because Christ forgave me, passing the blessing on to me allowed me to pass it on to others. And as that sweetness was released onto others, my heart experienced great freedom and unshakable joy.

What about you? Are you walking in the freedom that was intended for you? Or are you holding on to a grudge that is not yours to carry? Is it time to forgive? Blessings to you all.

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1 comment:

  1. Love you Shauna. I had never heard this story all the way through, but I have often smelled the fragrance of Jesus in your life. So beautiful.


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