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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Fabulous Family Friday–It’s Time to Let Go

Thursday, July 28th, 2011




Dallas’ step-mom stepped into Glory early Wednesday morning.


Times like this make you re-evaluate your life.


What is really important in life?  What IS the “important stuff”?


Well, if you know me at all, you know I “preach” about relationships all the time.


Relationships.  Those are the “important stuff” of life.   God wanted fellowship, so He created man.  He didn’t “need” us.  But He wanted a creature that would choose to fellowship with Him. So He gave man a choice.


Man didn’t make the best choice and has suffered for it ever since.


Then the Father made a way to reconcile us to Him.  He paid a precious price to redeem us from our foolish choice of self!


What a wonderful Savior He is!


And yet….


I can’t help but think of the parable Jesus told in Matthew 18:21-35.   I used to tell my girls, when they were younger, how the servant owed money that if it were stacked up, would be as high as “the tower”.  “The tower” is connected to a Cargill facility and stores grain to be used for mixing feed.  It is 8 stories high and visible for miles around!   In our rural area, it stands out!  It was pretty new when they were small, and they used to look for the tower on our way home from anywhere and start this litany of “I see the tower!  I see the tower!”


So it made a BIG impression on them to think of $20 bills stacked 8 stories high!


(Note:  I’m not stating that is the exact amount or how it might look but was using it for an analogy! ;) )


That’s how much the servant was forgiven!


Then what does he do?  He goes out and finds a fellow servant who owes him $20 and says, “Pay up or else!”   As his fellow servant begs for patience, he has no mercy whatsoever.


I’m sure we’ve all read that and thought, “How could he do that?  How could he just be forgiven a debt that he could never repay, and then demand his fellow servant pay a ridiculously small amount?!”


Because he didn’t understand mercy.   Or grace.   He didn’t focus on the “important stuff”.


I have watched Christians hang onto bitter grudges and hurts, and say things like “They’ll get theirs!”


Really–do we want others to “get theirs”?


What about “ours”?


Oh, that’s different!  WE get grace and mercy!  But “they” don’t “deserve” it.


It looks pathetic in print, doesn’t it?


Yet that is what we really are saying when we choose to not forgive.


And that is usually at the bottom of broken relationships.  Someone is not meeting our needs, someone is not doing what they should, someone else is being selfish and it hurts you….yet God’s grace is there to help you forgive them.


It’s not a feeling.  It’s a choice.  But too many of us are bound by our feelings.   And as we’re waiting for “feelings” to help us forgive, we’re getting more bitter every day.


Bitterness is not just wishing for revenge.  It can also be hanging onto the hurts.  Which is all too easy to do, especially when the other person either doesn’t have a clue they even hurt us, or they don’t care.


But we are commanded to forgive, to let go, to love, to bless and do good to our enemies (Mt. 5:44).


If we are to do that with our “enemies”, shouldn’t we do that all the more with our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Especially in our families?


This brings peace, rest, grace…unity.


And unity is the gift we can give to Him.


“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us:  that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” Jn. 17:21



How will the world believe the Father loved them enough to send His Son, when His children can’t even love and forgive each other?


When we keep His lovingkindness, His mercy, before our eyes, it is easier to see how to walk in His Truth.


“For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes:  and I have walked in Thy Truth.”           Ps. 26:3


His lovingkindness is also His beauty, His favor.


When we keep before us all He did for us, and that we have favor with Him only because of His Son, it makes it easier to trust Him and believe that truly He can work even the wrath of man to praise Him. (Ps. 76:10)


Do we really think we can make a difference in an offender’s life by holding him or her hostage to our bitter emotions?


Christ died to free us from the shackles of guilt, shame, bondage to sin.  So why do we insist on putting shackles on our brothers and sisters?


I told my husband the other day that I think I know what the “unpardonable sin” is.


He asked what?


I said, “Unforgiveness.”


No, I can’t prove that theologically.   What I mean is, first of all, if we don’t forgive, He plainly said He won’t forgive us, either.  (Mt. 18:35)


If we are truly His, and we choose not to forgive, we may still “get to Heaven”, but we will live in a self-made hell-on-earth, because we can’t stay in fellowship with the Father Who forgave His prodigal when we harbor bitterness and unforgiveness towards another.  We won’t feel His forgiveness, His favor.  We will also destroy other relationships, because anyone who acts like or reminds us of the one we won’t forgive will evoke a reaction from us.  Or we’re so consumed with rehashing in our minds and to anyone who will listen how that person wronged us.  How we’re justified in feeling this way.  And then we will wonder why certain people have become distant to us.


Our hearts will shrivel up more and more as we get more self-focused, self-possessed.


“Be careful that you are following Me, and I will care for all else.  Striving is for those who have not yet learned to trust Me.  Anxiety is the affliction of the self-possessed. The godly know their heritage and revel in the protection of their Redeemer.  For it is in the blood of Jesus that refuge is found for every onslaught of the enemy.                                               ~Come Away My Beloved, by Frances Roberts


Truly, hanging onto offenses shows a lack of trust in God, and a lack of belief that He is Sovereign.   He could have stopped the offense, but didn’t.  Can He really be God?  (Where does that lie come from?!)


By embracing the grace He extends to you, and choosing, in spite of your feelings, to forgive, and instead of rehashing what was said or what you will say when you get a chance the next time, you choose to think of His grace and say, “I choose to forgive them.  By Your grace, I choose to love them”, then eventually it doesn’t hurt anymore.   And you actually DO love them!


Jesus didn’t die on a Cross so you could “have the right” to “speak your mind”.  Or to hold onto a grudge and refuse to give grace and mercy when you have received so much more from Him.


It’s really a slap in the face to the Glorious Son of God Who died to set you free!


We really have no other choice if we truly want peace and to stay in fellowship with Him.


It’s time to let go.


As you can imagine, life has prompted this post.


29 years ago, my step-mother-in-law had heard some things about me that weren’t true, but she trusted the one who told her.   She didn’t know me very well yet.  For close to 2 years, I could tell she didn’t like me and didn’t really accept me as her daughter-in-law.   At the time, I didn’t know why.


I had to choose to forgive, to say, “I love her” even when I didn’t feel it one little bit.


I’m so glad I did!


As I knelt by her bedside a few days ago, holding her hand, not knowing if she even was aware we were there, I thought, “Thank You, Lord!  Thank You that we cleared all that up years ago!”


My mother-in-law did say she was sorry, but by the time she did, it really didn’t matter anymore.


You see, if you wait for them to “say their sorry and mean it’, they will never be able to mean it enough for you.  You will still be expecting so much from them, and when they sincerely ask forgiveness or apologize, you won’t be able to release them.


And your “balance” will be upset.  As long as they were not acknowledging their wrong, you were “justified” in your feelings.  But now they have received freedom from God, if not from you, and their end of the balance has flung to the Heavens.  And you are left with the weight of the bitterness you harbored in your heart.


There is only one thing to do.


Let go.   Give it to Him, a thousand times a day if you must.  But let go, before it totally destroys you and those you love.


After all, when you get to Heaven, and see those nail-scarred hands, just what will be so important to hold on to, when you look into the face of One Who let go of it all…..for you?


Remember, it was from His Cross that He spoke the ten words that are our example….



“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”



May you find in Him the grace, the mercy, the strength….


…..to let go.


For then you will see and know His Truth, and “the Truth shall set you free.”


May you be free in Him!