A while back I was in a situation with two people who had become thorns on my side. I’ll admit to struggling with letting go of the offenses and that’s tough because when you go pray, you feel convicted to lay the offense at the feet of Jesus. The following day, the same thing or something similar would happen and after a while my mercy tank had depleted. I had distanced myself from these two people and mind you, they don’t even know each other but it seemed like they worked as a team coz each struck right after the other. This went on for a while. It’s funny how 1) the enemy will not let up when he knows something gets on your nerves- he works overtime to get you riled up. 2) Thankfully God does not let up either and He will tug on your heart to show mercy as He has shown mercy. The Lord would give me a simple instruction ‘Extend grace.’
I was reminded how nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Romans 8:35 who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even though I kept forgiving, the enemy wanted me to keep focusing on the offenses and I found myself thinking of ways to avoid these people. Crazy, right? I had to get uncomfortable, become someone I’m not just so I wouldn’t be offended! How vain! My ‘mercy tank’ might have been running on empty but Jesus instructed His disciples/us to forgive and keep forgiving. Matthew 18:22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Forgiving does not excuse the offender and it does not take them off the hook but it does free the offended. Letting go of these offenses no matter how had had to be a priority because I needed peace. Let’s face it, no one can have your peace of mind, your joy unless you hand it to them. I had the power to decide to let go or hold on. The Holy Spirit is amazing, He reminded me of the many times God had forgiven me and the fact that I was free became Jesus had set me free. Things will happen and how I chose to react to them was a choice I needed to make on a daily basis.
One morning, while my heart burned with offense, I asked the Lord to forgive me then I said, ‘Lord, I will not the offense against them. I forgive them and I chose to let go. Just like that, the offense left. I had evicted the enemy of my heart. I had chosen the love of God over the offense. Yes, whom the Son sets free is free indeed. These people couldn’t hurt me anymore, what they did rested on their shoulders; not mine. My shoulders had to remain free of baggage. When we say we have forgiven others, we need to release them from the offense. I know situations are different and some wounds are physical other deep emotional wounds.
If you are struggling with forgiveness, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He is after all our helper. If you are struggling to let go of the offense, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you forgive and let go of the offense. A leader I know once said they had to keep forgiving a person who had done them wrong until they no longer were affected by the offense. A pastor once said told his congregation to not put the offender in a cage then take them out, condemn then and put them back in the cage for a later date. You are the one who will suffer the most. Unforgiveness is like a disease. Don’t let it find a home in your heart because it’s like a wound and when it’s not treated it grows stinky and becomes had to get rid of. Remember, it’s a lot easier to throw away a people than move a mountain.