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This week’s blog is part 2 on the subject of forgiving and how to come to a place of forgiveness. If you missed part 1, be sure to click the following link (Part 1) because we are jumping off the deep end into point number three today.
Step Three in how to get to a place of forgiveness is that you know God is going to get ‘em. (I warned you we were jumping off the deep end.)
This is something that we all feel funny thinking, but you need to know that forgiveness is not about letting people off the hook. Forgiveness is actually placing people who have wronged you into the hands of a mighty, powerful God who is in love with you and wants the best for you. He’s a little prejudice when it comes to you and that’s who you want taking care of your situation!
Here are a few examples of what God says about people who have tried to harm you:
Deuteronomy 32:35, “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay. In time their foot will slip, for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.”
Vengeance means – “infliction of punishment in return for a wrong; retribution.” So,God is not saying people haven’t harmed you. He is just telling us that He will take care of the punishment. You can be free and go on living your life while He remembers the wrong and pursues justice for you.
Psalm 18:47-49 says, “God—He gives me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; You rescue me from violent men. Therefore I will praise You, Yahweh, among the nations; I will sing about Your name.”
So, again we see that He frees us and allows us to praise Him daily while He is handling those who have wronged us.
Just a quick side note here – Does God expect us to keep our mouths shut and not be able to be heard?
This has almost killed me in some of the circumstances we have been in lately…knowing that God wanted me to be quiet and not “speak my mind”… not because He didn’t want me to be heard, but in order to protect me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. The really awesome thing though is we can ALWAYS pour our heart out to Him even when He is telling us not to “speak our mind”. He is always with us wanting us to tell Him how we feel and what we are struggling with. There is such an amazing release when we lay it all out before Him. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” The God of the universe is saying, “I want to hear from you.”
Several months ago I was in my car travelling replaying a situation over and over again in my mind. Instead of a release, I just kept getting madder and madder and madder. It finally dawned on me that I needed to talk to God and not just myself, so I poured it before Him. Instead of replaying it to myself, I spoke it out loud to Him. It was an incredible experience! You wouldn’t think it would help that much, but it does. So, I encourage you to verbally release it all to Him. Tell Him how mad you are and what people have done to you. Name names! It really does help.
Here is a great example in Scripture where David is pouring his heart out to God: “LORD, God of vengeance— God of vengeance, appear.
Rise up, Judge of the earth; repay the proud what they deserve.
LORD, how long will the wicked— how long will the wicked gloat?
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
LORD, they crush Your people; they afflict Your heritage.
They kill the widow and the foreigner and murder the fatherless. They say, “The LORD doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.”
Pay attention, you stupid people! Fools, when will you be wise?
Can the One who shaped the ear not hear, the One who formed the eye not see?
The One who instructs nations, the One who teaches man knowledge— does He not discipline?
The LORD knows man’s thoughts; they are meaningless. LORD, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law
to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The LORD will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage,
for justice will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who stands up for me against the wicked? Who takes a stand for me against evildoers? If the LORD had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence ⌊of death⌋.
If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD.
When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” – Psalm 94:1-19
David was genuine in his feelings and in his thoughts, and we know from Scripture that God calls him a man after His own heart. We can know from the example of David that not only is it just acceptable to pour out our hearts to God, but He wants that intensity with us. He wants that honesty.
David was also truthful about the fact that his foot was starting to slip in this matter. I take that to mean his mouth was getting the better of him, or his thoughts were running away from him, but he knew that His God was there supporting him with His faithful love and was not only helping David get through the situation, but was also in the process of taking care of the ones who had hurt him.
Okay, so I hope you see that God does want you to be heard. He just wants to be the One doing the listening.
So, back off the rabbit trail and back on to point three which reminds us that God will get those who try to harm us.
Psalm 94:20-23 says, “Can a corrupt throne— one that creates trouble by law— become Your ally? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection. He will pay them back for their sins and destroy them for their evil. The LORD our God will destroy them.”
Do I know why God doesn’t punish those who have wronged us when we think they should be punished? No, but I do know that our God is worthy of our trust. We can trust His timing because we know He loves us. The Bible assures us that His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts and His ways are so much better than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), so we know that His timing and His ways are best because He sees the whole picture.
When you think you have to take care of things yourself, that God doesn’t care, or doesn’t see what’s happening in your life, when the devil has made you forget how much your God woos you like we discussed in Session One of God’s Love (YouTube Session), this is your verse to hang on to:
Isaiah 35:4- “Say to them that are of a fearful heart [that’s why we run out and get into trouble a lot of times…because we’re fearful ; we’re afraid that God isn’t seeing what people are doing to us and saying about us], Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.”
Isaiah 35:5-6 says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
Sometimes, unforgiveness makes us so hard hearted that we simply can’t see anything around us but how we were wronged. We can’t hear anything but what they said to us. We can’t think about anything but what we should have said back, or what we will do the next time we have to see them, but forgiveness…leaving the situation in God’s capable hands… opens our eyes and allows us to hear. Isaiah 35 says that we will be able to sing and be refreshed. Forgiving people allows the Spirit to pour Living water over our dry, parched places.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t use the court system, or other people to right a wrong, but I am saying that it’s up to Him, not us, and not the way we can manipulate things.
Forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook, it’s about being free.
We are not stupid when we forgive. We are super smart because we are allowing the God of the universe to handle things for us. It’s like He steps in front of us and says, “I’ve got this.”
Micah 7:7 says, “But I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”
Step Four to forgiveness is knowing that your relationship with God is worth more than whatever you have to forgive. Our beautiful Savior who covers you with His wings every day and night is worth anything.
Psalm 18:16-20 says, “He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my distress, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.”
Being clean before the Lord is so much better than hanging on to any un-forgiveness. Keeping our Robe of righteousness on (which is Jesus Himself) is so much better than remembering wrongs that seem to be forgotten by everyone but you. Nothing is worth harming our walk with God.
Step Five to forgiveness is trusting our God to be the Judge.
Psalm 75:2 says, “‘When I choose a time, I will judge fairly.’”
Lamentations 3:59-62 says, “LORD, You see the wrong done to me; judge my case. You see all their malice, all their plots against me. LORD, You hear their insults, all their plots against me. The slander and murmuring of my opponents attack me all day long.”
Be assured Your God sees and hears everything! You can rest in His judgment because He already knows all the testimony and all the facts. You don’t have to worry about being heard. He hears you. He wants you to pour your heart out, but not because He doesn’t know what’s going on, it’s because of His love for you. Song of Solomon 2:14 says, “My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crevices of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”
That’s why God wants to hear from you. He just loves the sound of your voice.
Do not think that your God does not know what happened to you. Do not listen to that voice in your head that says God will not repay the person that hurt you. Do not believe that you have to be the one to repay, or punish, but do remember that it is in His hands, in His time and needs to be in His way so that you can be free.
Forgiveness is not about being tricked into letting someone off the hook. It’s about being free.
So, as you are surrounded by people this Holiday Season that you can usually avoid remember that forgiveness is about being free. Forgiveness can only come through the Holy Spirit and He wants us to forgive not to let people off the hook, but to rely on Him and trust Him completely with the outcome knowing that we are loved more than we ever realized. Enjoy this Season knowing that even though forgiveness is not easy it’s always worth it.
Image by US Health News