Jesus and Mema talking again…
I can hear her voice,” Don’t be acting ugly, Jeanna “ and when I would try to justify myself, she would place her hand on my thigh and say, “ You can do better than that…just because they are acting ugly, you don’t have to act like they do.”
Damn, Momma, your words are craved into my heart.
So when I read this Bible devotional, I felt her words and the words of Jesus stirring in my heart.
Letting Another Off the Hook
One thing I have discovered while walking with many people toward the freedom God offers us is that—somewhere along the way—forgiveness almost always has to play a part in the healing. In life, others hurt us. Unforgiveness toward them is like a cage.
You may feel, even now, as though you are in a spiritual prison—tormented and tortured. Whom do you need to forgive to release yourself? You may even need to forgive yourself, intentionally doing away with what seems like perpetual self-hatred that has kept you from allowing God’s love to heal your heart. You will be amazed at the freedom you find as you forgive those who have hurt you.
Of course, forgiveness isn’t a magical potion. It’s an act of our free will that begins a process of healing, reconciliation, and freedom in our lives. We may not feel it immediately.
I don’t know what you’ve been through or who you need to forgive, but forgiving is necessary for our freedom and a natural overflow of the grace, love, and forgiveness that have been extended to us. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).
You don’t have to, but you will be forgiven as you forgive others, so it’s probably a good idea to forgive even if you don’t feel like it. Remember Matthew 18:35: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (NIV). Ouch. Now that’s some truth with a big love stick that we all need to be hit with from time to time.
Notice it says from your heart, not simply with your mouth. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart; Jesus came to deal with the root of our problems, not just the symptoms. He came for a revolution in our hearts and consequently our entire lives. This revolution won’t happen without heartfelt forgiveness as a turning point.
I had to wrestle hard and long with this one. I chose to forgive a man that hurt me deeply that left scars across my heart and one way I knew I had forgiven him and overcome the past was when I no longer went tumbling back down the hell in my thoughts when I smelled cigarette smoke or saw flannel plaid.
I chose to forgive and open my heart to a relationship that most people would consider crazy but I’m dammed if I’ll live in fear of what was and what could have been.
I chose to forgive the hurts that others did because I realize that hurting people hurt others…and I need to know their stories and listen to them before assuming anything.
I chose to forgive the one that has told me that my decision to not get vaccinated makes me dangerous and unethical.
I chose to forgive the one that’s made it clear that I’m no longer welcomed in their life because I believe differently than they do.
I chose to forgive myself…and that was really really really hard to do. I had to dig deep and see where I had built up walls, and acted selfishly and ugly and hurt those I love, just like I had been hurt.
I had been doing exactly what Mema told me not to do.
She used to tell me, over and over
“Don’t you dare give up, Jeanna’, don’t you dare give up…you keep on loving to pieces and you keep on doing your best”
So here I am- loving to pieces.
Piece by piece…. Jesus and Mema.., don’t give up on me.