The strength to forgive repeatedly is rooted in God’s powerful love for us. It’s the forgiveness that says, I forgive and still chose to love even when the offender has not recognized, apologized or atoned for his or her offense. When I truly lean into God’s grace and mercy for me can I find my peace and self-worth in God and love the way Jesus did when he said, “Forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
It’s the moment when you choose grace and mercy even in pain. When you accept that the person you are extending mercy to does not deserve it and does not understand how much he/she hurt you and you extend grace anyway. This, this is the moment of trust. Trusting that God is still God, that He is present and will tend to my brokenness and that by extending mercy nothing is taken away from me and that I have done the right thing. I have suffered righteously in the moment and not picked up control. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an encouragement to let others abuse you or to be vulnerable with someone who has repeatedly broken trust. I’m talking about making a choice to treat someone with respect, dignity and mercy despite their actions when they are hurtful.
Lam 3:25-29 (The Message) “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.”
God’s love allows us to love others, even when it hurts. When I remember and hold to the following truths I can love like God loves:
1) Understand that sometime someone’s response is not about you but about them and their journey
2) Their response is independent of your worth
3) You are absolutely worthy of love
Faith is having the courage to let God have control. This is a daily fight. To lay down before Him what I so desperately want to fix, make clear, take care of or address myself, my way based on my perspective. It’s not reaching for control to alleviate the pain or discomfort but leaning into God and His word for truth that surpasses emotion.
Rom8:5-8 MSG “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.”
I don’t always love well. I don’t feel like it, I’m hurt, I’m worried or I question God. When I am the focus, my love for God and people falls short. It’s only in His loving arms that I am reminded of what authentic love feels and looks like. The longing we can feel for a love we remember yet never really had, it’s our longing for God.
Jesus’ most important commandments were for us to love God and to love others as we love ourselves. When we finally accept ourselves the way God has accepted us because of Christ’s sacrifice—as we are and not as we think we should be—we can love unconditionally, even when it’s hard or when it hurts. Because when you know your worth you can love others better and you can forgive repeatedly as you see ever so clearly all the grater debt that God forgave you.
Heb10:20 MSG “let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, worshiping together”