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Friday, January 15, 2010

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Did you know that unforgiveness and holding on to anger increase your chances of a heart attack five fold? It also increases your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other diseases. Not only that, but our emotional health is at risk too. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with unforgiveness, it’s medically proven.

But love on the other hand brings forth healing, peace and joy.

Mark and I were at a friend house and their 4 year old little girl wanted to go swimming. Much to our surprise she proceeded to strip naked right there on the porch. She had no shame whatsoever! I looked at her and said, ‘Emma, what are you doing?’
She responded bluntly, ‘I’m putting on my bathing suit!’ As if to say, 'duh, I can’t swim in my blue jeans!'

I thought about this story recently when I was reading Colossians 3. It talks about stripping off our old evil nature and all those old attitudes, then clothing yourself with a brand new nature and new attitudes. Those attitudes include mercy, patience and humility.

Col 3:12
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

I believe that humility is the key that opens the door to forgiving others. It was complete humility that Jesus modeled for us when He went to the cross, and that was why His response to their hatred was love. With humility comes love.

So what does all that have to do with Emma’s lack of modesty? Well, we need to strip off our old sinful ways so that we can put on God’s clothing of love- because you can’t swim in God’s river with the heavy weight of sin and unforgiveness. We need to take it off and put on the proper attire so that we can ‘swim’ in all that God has for our future.

There is freedom in forgiveness!

Col 3:13-14
13 You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.

The Bible says that we should bless those who curse us. One way to do that is to pray for our enemies. I don’t mean just saying a nice little, ‘God bless them’ prayer while teeth are clenched. We all know that is not love. The prayer that I’m talking about is the kind that says, ‘I pray that they would be blessed in all they do, that they would come to know You more intimately, that they would have favor in their lives with all men.’ Basically, praying for them like you would pray for your loved ones. Speak blessings over their family.

If you are faithful to do this, your heart will start to change. You will begin to have compassion for them and see them as God does.

Then you will feel the freedom of forgiveness!


redmaryjanes said...

Hi there! Thank you for your comment on my blog the seventh diamond. It's always wonderful to meet other Moms. Steffie and I are working to put together an International Mothers group here in West Michigan. Since you are in our area, I'll do my best to make sure that you know about it in case you would like to participate.

Kristy said...

What a sweet blog.....hey, you can't beat praise and coffee!!
I love this post on forgiveness. When we do truly forgive, it's kinda like say "ahhhhh", huh? It feels so wonderful.
Bless you.
In it for His Glory ~

Anonymous said...

What a terrific post to begin my day with. Thank you for your wise words this morning, Sue. Ever a blessing to me.

Shari said...

Wonderful read, Sue. I woke up this morning pondering these very things.

My husband walks easier in this than I times I can be a slow learner. It took me years to humble myself and admit that someone had even hurt me (I thought it was weak to feel hurt and I just needed to "get over it")

I walked this road recently - forgiving and being forgiven...I've been on both sides of the fence.
What I do know is amazing fruit comes out of these experiences when we choose to walk in humility.

So thanks - made me cry..

p.s. I will have some serious posts at some point but I've been in such an intense season of my walk that I honestly need to post lighter things to just have a break...This is not a bad season but the intensity level is like nothing I've experienced. I know that things are changing at an excellerated rate. Anyhow, hope this makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Awesome word! When my hubby and I were in marriage counseling and dealing with some hurts from childhood - one of the things this Godly counselor told us was that - "You become what you don't forgive!" What she meant by that was that all the anger, hurt and bitterness that caused this person to be hurtful to you - will be allowed to build in your own heart if you don't forgive them!
Blessings - and thanks for the great reminder about forgiveness!

Tamatha said...

mmmmmm.....that sounds like yummie coffee!

greta lynn hernandez said...

I visited your blog from the Campus Crusade page. Thank you for your refreshing words.

A sister in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! I love your blog -- just spent a few minutes reading through! Keep writing -- I'll be checking back often!!


holy chaos said...

i like what you said! I found out the hard wau about praying for favor for the difficult in our lives. Praying for favor also does something for the person we are praying for. I have seen a change for the better in behavior in a person's way of acting in my own life. i am not explaining this very well, but i guess i can say form expereince that prayoing for favor and blessing does work! : )

i love praise and worship. btw.

TammieFay said...

Thanks for for your comment on my blog. I love the name of yours! I'm a huge coffee drinker myself and I have praise with mine every morning! Just let me say AMEN to your post! After coming out of an intense study of Colossians, the Lord provided me the opportunity to practice what He taught me. He is so faithful, His word so true, His way right. He is the One Wise God. Our freedom lies in obedience.

eph2810 said...

What a beautiful reminder that we should forgive from the heart and not the head...

Blessings to you and yours.

concerned parent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Wonderful post and reminder! It goes along well with our current Ladies Bible study at church. I have a picture of the little girl just stripping down quickly and without being concerned who was there and how we must respond spiritually the same way when we are tempted to put on the wrong clothes (attitudes).

Susan said...

Forgiveness for me is such a sigh of relief! Weights lifted from my shoulders. Burden thrown down. Love this...thanks, Sue!

Nikki said...

Ah, yes.
Good word, Sue.

I actually read it last nite, but didn't comment, and your words have already helped me more than once today.

Thanks for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, your post has been featured in the Summer's End Edition of the carnival of Christian advice.

Denise Miller Holmes said...

I like the NLT translation of Colossians 3:13,14. Makes the metaphor of "putting on" clear. Love and forgiveness are powerful. Well-written piece, Sue.

Praise and Coffee said...

Thank you Denise, I just love your website!

Melissa in Mel's World said...

Ouch, Ouch, clipped my toes on this one my friend...not because I am necessarily dealing with it now but because I have, in the past, struggled to forgive.

There is perfect peace, love, and joy in forgiveness. They might not always *deserve* in our minds but we certainly don't *deserve* the forgiveness that each of us has been given either, do we?

I love watching God lay these words on your heart and the women who are learning and growing from them. You are truly a blessing!


kimberley said...

so needed to read this today - thank you!!! love the part about not being able to swim in the river of God if we're wearing the clothes of sin and unforgiveness...a much needed word picture!!

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