There is something inside all of us that knows there is a higher power of some sort. Whether it is a tiny seed from our Father in Heaven, or the breath of His Spirit, or a yearning for understanding the purpose of life, there is something. There is also something that fights this.
I read about an old Cherokee chief who wanted to teach his grandson about this. The boy had broken a tribal taboo and his grandpa wanted him to understand why he did it. The wise chief told him that it was like having two wolves inside us; one is good, the other is bad. And they both demand our obedience.
The little boy asked his grandfather which wolf wins. “The one we feed!” said the wise old chief.
To be self-absorbed in a pity party when you have been wronged is not God’s plan for you. In essence, you are feeding the bad wolf. We need to use the power of God’s Spirit inside us to guide our thinking away from pity-party thoughts. We need to starve the bad wolf and feed the good. With practice and patience and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious if we die to our own selfishness.
Die to Self
Please help me be forgiving for I know that is Your will
I really, really try but feel angry still
I know the answer’s hidden but can be found in You
Help me guide my thinking so I can work this through
If I can think of You and Your unfailing grace
I can use Your power in order to replace
My feelings of unrest, and thoughts will turn to joy
Because it is Your voice my spirit will enjoy
The You in me will grow and be watered by Your Spirit
The me in me will die as I let my soul hear it
And You will be victorious, overcoming sin
Because I died to self, and let my Savior in
Hebrews 8:12 promises, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” It is amazing to realize that God not only forgives our sin but forgets that it ever happened. And we are called to do the same. This is no easy task. In fact, it may seem virtually impossible!
When it comes to forgiving someone, the important thing is to begin by voicing your forgiveness. When our children were growing up and they had squabbles, we required them to apologize and forgive each other. It was often obvious they did this even though they weren’t feeling it. But this was the first step in teaching them how important it is to say you are sorry and be able to forgive those who wrong you.
As I was growing up, I often heard, “I will forgive, but I will never forget.” When there is unforgiveness, there is that uncomfortable feeling between you and the other person. You may even still feel angry every time you remember. So, what do you do with your anger if you keep remembering?
I recently heard it said that forgiveness is not that you forget, but you forget the hurt or anger attached to it. This makes a lot of sense because it is also said that not forgiving would be like drinking poison and expecting the person who wronged you to die instead of you. Without forgiveness, you are the one who suffers, while it is quite possible the person who wronged you may not even know that they hurt you at all.
Getting rid of the anger and the hurt is the only way you will ever be able to forget. Thankfully, God has left us His Spirit to guide us through the stages of forgiveness. After all, if we expect God to forgive us, then we should be ready to forgive others in the same way.
Receiving forgiveness and giving it are tied together. We tend to want to blame and direct our anger at someone. God the Father is perfect in every way and He felt the same way. So Jesus took all the blame and all the anger on our behalf. What a gift of love! And when we are ready to believe it, we can receive it.
Ready to Receive
Lord, I think I’m ready, please remind me what I’ve heard
For now I know Your truth is written in Your word
You say we are the branches and You’re the living vine
Speaking to us personally through Your word divine
When comforting Your friends the night before You died
You spoke of things to come, and that You’d be denied
They didn’t understand just why You couldn’t stay
They wanted to go with You but didn’t know the way
You were going to the Father and they could go there too
But the only way to get there was going there through You
That’s not an easy concept and even though we hear it
We just can’t understand it unless we have Your Spirit
You were just one person, when in Your human form
But now through Your Holy Spirit You are able to transform
For anyone who searches and wishes to believe
Has access to Your love when we’re ready to receive
Based on John 14:1-6; John 14:26; John 15:1-8
One final thought from Mark Twain:
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Is your life leaving a fragrance of forgiveness?