You know, forgiving someone who is sorry is really easy. There is a mutual understanding that we both want things to be better and we decide to move forward in a new direction. I used to think that's how it all worked. Share your apologies, have a good talk, and make peace. It still does work that way ... but sometimes the other party isn't willing. Sometimes the other party might even hate you and despise you.
So where do I go from there? My natural reaction as a woman is to get even. Women are catty, so when someone hurts our feelings or makes us angry ... we get back at them. Or I get really angry. Anger is okay, as long as it's dealt with properly. However, I have a problem with letting that anger go completely and it turns over to bitterness.
I end up feeling so bitter about said offensive person that I don't want anything good to happen to them. I'd be happy if I never saw their face again.
I'm just being honest, but I know that isn't what the Lord wants from me.
The Lord asks us to look deeper, to look further than what meets the eye. He asks us to follow His way and not our flesh.
I posted lastnight about bitter vs. burdened ... and that's what I am getting at. I hate to say that I myself have been bitter and not burdened for people. I've let the strife in our relationships cause me to grow bitter and cold towards them. I haven't truly worried about their spiritual condition as much as I have just wanted them to go away. I've been fighting to stay above water, because I haven't been truly giving these conflicts to the Lord.
It's so hard, though. How in the world do I love and have a burden for someone who has a disdain for me? How do I love someone who spits in my face? Is it even possible?
Christ died for us while we were still sinners. He took our sin upon Him and endured the cross so we could live ... even though it was our sin that crucified Him. My husband says that if Jesus would have spoken to those men who were beating Him, he believes that He would have looked at them with holy eyes saying - "I still love you." He's still willing to save even today when the world is growing colder and colder towards Him.
I believe the Lord wants me to do the same. I don't need to die for anyone's sin ... that's already been done. But I can love them despite what's been done to me. That doesn't necessarily mean rolling over and saying they've never done wrong. However, it is acknowledging that there is a deeper problem at hand and that the petty little drama is small in comparison to the real issues. (Whatever they may be.)
It is praying for someone even when they despise you.
Following the Lord and keeping my heart in check so I am not the one hindering them. (There is the difficult one! I'd like to think that I am right all of the time ... not gonna lie!)
This is hard stuff.
I asked the Lord to forgive me for the way I've been ... that's where it all starts. And I have begun praying for such and such person. The weight of bitterness has been lifted and I have clarity. I know I'll get angry again ... and I know my knees will need to hit the floor rather than hoarding it off. Rather than getting bitter and holding it in, I need to be broken and burdened. That changes the entire perspective of the situation.
And there is that part of me that wishes it good be so easy as to have a good chat and let it all go. Wouldn't that be so easy? I think the Lord is trying to teach me something, though. Real love. Real friendship. Real faithfulness. Having the solution handed to me without any work done at all doesn't really teach me anything.
Hopefully I'll be able to share someday about how things are better. That's my hope and that is my inspiration. I have to believe that the Lord has a reason for all of this.
In the meantime, pray for me. All of this has been one of the most difficult things I have ever been through and it's not easy.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8