I never really thought I was the type of person to hold a grudge. But recently I’ve caught myself re-telling a story of a situation where I felt wronged, wasn’t apologized to or even had the wrong acknowledged. If a general (I use the word general VERY loosely) connection came up I was EAGER to spill the beans on how hurt I was or how awful what happened was. Each time SAVORING the shocked reactions and the pity they felt for me. As if the more people that agreed with me would somehow make up for the hurt I experienced. I so badly wanted to be validated. For everyone to know that my feelings were hurt and for them to agree that I had good reason to be upset. It was important to me. Unfortunately (and obviously), more important than being a reflection of Christ.
I was so deeply focused on my need to let everyone know that someone wronged me, I never caught on to the resentment building in my heart. Every time I replayed the situation, anger grew in my heart. The validation from others was fueling my hurt. Resentment is like mold. It just creeps in and gets cozy and then it takes you out. It can block your blessings, stifle your spiritual growth and change your heart for the worst. I was actively & unknowingly engaging in self-sabotage every time I spoke about it. I had somehow managed to convince myself I had forgiven this person while still talking about the situation and relishing in the pain. The mind is a tricky thing y’all.
One day after church, I felt a nudge to go get prayer in our prayer hall. Nothing was really on my heart but I went anyways. Can’t have enough prayer. I strolled into the prayer hall and said “I don’t know what to tell you to pray for, I just know I am supposed to be getting prayer”. And as I began to receive prayer the person praying for me said…. “And Lord let no resentment be in her heart.” I burst into tears. The Holy Spirits’ gentle nudge was as clear as day- “let it go”. There were a lot of things to let go. But the two most important ones for me were:
- Let go of the actual act.
- Let go of the need for an apology.
This wasn’t my favorite message from the Holy Spirit but it probably will have the biggest impact on my life. Who am I hold onto a perceived wrong? I’ve been forgiven a hundred times over. God doesn’t remind me or everyone around me exactly what I did wrong and how much it hurt Him so why am I doing that to others? God forgives. So should I.
So I started to journal and pray about it but the not- so -lovely thoughts kept popping up. I was frustrated with myself and my own heart. I wish the forgiveness part came as quickly as the conviction part. But I was reminded that forgiveness is a choice. It’s a process. My flesh is REAL. And it’s sensitive and it wants to be validated. But the spirit of Christ abides in me. Therefore I must actively choose to think good thoughts about this person. To actively pray blessings over their life. Choose to acknowledge when I feel resentment so I can pray it down. And choose not to tell the story for the 45th time. Choose to train my heart and mind to be more Christ-like. It’s a constant choice and eventually (hopefully) I’ll get every last bit of resentment, hurt and bitterness out of my heart. And with this forgiveness pouring out of me, I’ll be able to receive forgiveness from the Father, more answered prayers and a closer relationship with Jesus. And a heart that genuinely reflects Christ’s love for us.
Forgiveness is a choice we must choose eagerly and often. It is a vital key that can unlock our peace and prayers. Acknowledge and confess where you are holding out on forgiving someone. Let it go and choose forgiveness.
Be kind and compassionate with one another, bearing with one another in forgiveness
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your father in heaven may forgive your sins
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Bearing with one another, and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
It is my firm belief that we should do the following two things often:
Forgive others & make spaghetti. Perhaps these are the keys to a good life? Head over to the recipe page to see how I jazzed up my regular spaghetti recipe 🙂