21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. - Matthew 18:21-22
Deeper than the petty offenses we need to let roll off our back, and even deeper than the hurtful offenses we need to roll up to God, are the unspeakable sins committed against us - a deep betrayal, the taking of a loved one's life, abuse. These are the incredible injustices that leave us scarred and can come to define who we are. Far too many of us have an intimate understanding of the darkness that exists in this broken world, a darkness that is impossible to forgive in our own power. The kind of forgiveness that releases us from the bondage of a darkness that can shroud our entire lives, can only be found in Him and Him alone. You have to pursue it - you have to be diligent and persistent, but you will find freedom if you choose to forgive.
When you are the victim of such a deep injustice, when someone has sinned against you in an unspeakable way, when you have come up against the darkness of this broken world in a tangible way, it can feel like letting it go is nearly impossible. Sometimes we feel like it’s too big to let go, or that we can’t stop the projector in our mind from playing it over and over. Sometimes we feel like letting it go somehow removes a piece of us, a significant part of who we are...sometimes we feel like letting it go let’s our offender off the hook. Sometimes the bitterness or the anger is too much to face, so we refuse to even pull it out of the box to deal with, making it impossible to forgive. We can begin to define ourselves by the crime committed against us, it can even become a comfortable excuse for why things in our lives go wrong ~ I’m not capable of healthy relationships because I have been sexually abused. We can even use it to get attention or pity from others, and letting it go means we have to stand on who we are without it. Holding on to deep hurts from our past, continuing to nurse them, or letting them define you, keeps the shroud of darkness over you. Here’s one of the hardest truths to grab a hold of for those of us who have lived through unspeakable sins - the crime committed against you is sin, but so is the lack of forgiveness. We are called to forgive our enemies.
Unforgiveness keeps the darkness near and the enemy at hand. While the crime committed against you is unspeakable, hanging on to it is a sin and gives the enemy a foothold in your life. He has a place to stand firmly in your life through that unforgiveness, and permission to continue to whisper into your life. Free yourself from that trap by forgiving your offender. Understand that forgiveness does not set your offender free - they are still trapped in their sin until they seek forgiveness from you and from God, they are still living their life in darkness, plagued by the sins they’ve committed. Forgiveness sets you free from the darkness. It releases the hold the enemy has on your life. It begins with a choice and a confession of your own lack of forgiveness.
What enters your life in place of that darkness is a sweet, pure light of love from heaven above. I’ve experienced that freedom ~ I know intimately how He rushes in to fill the void created by laying down the unforgivable sin with a love so pure and a joy so deep it’s difficult to describe. My prayer for all of you in the Christmas season is that you find that love and that joy surrounding you as you welcome the Messiah.
Press on, you are loved 💗
Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists. It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst. Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps! Here is the link:
https://www.gofundme.com/chair4caregivers. Thank you so much!!
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