• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Forgiveness Is Freeing

I think we can all remember a time that we have been betrayed and hurt. We were angry and felt we had every right to be angry. I experienced this early in life and I held on to that anger for years. When you carry those feelings, the anger crushes any desire to forgive. You may even find yourself asking God to help you have mercy on that person but then you think about what they did and it did not justify mercy! The voices in our head were in a spiritual battle - one wanting you to show mercy and the louder one justifying your anger!

James 1: 19, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." I am quick to read a verse and keep on going but have you ever noticed that it says, "everyone" That means us! All of us! Even though the other person did a horrible thing! That stepped on my toes but not like this next one. James 1:22, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Ouch! I guess when we justify our anger we are really deceiving ourselves! And here is the ouch part of this verse: "Do what it says." Just do it - no if's, and's or but's!

Anger is ok. Jesus got angry. But, sometimes, our anger begins to boil and we let it destroy relationships. Jesus did not do that. We must deal with it and eliminate the anger quickly. I remember having to speak to someone and being very nervous. My pastor told me to speak the truth in love. I asked God to give me the words and He did. I was very honest but it was all done in love. Ephesians 4: 15, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."

When we can forgive and move on we can live the life that God has planned for us. We must extend the same mercy and forgiveness to others that God has given us. And when we do our part, God can soften our hearts. When we forgive, we are not changing the past, we are changing the future!

"A wise man was asked, 'what is anger?' He gave a beautiful answer, 'It is a punishment you give to yourself, for somebody else's mistakes.'"


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