Food for thought….Pain and Forgiveness

 forgiveness

My dear friend Courtney wrote this, and boy, it is good 🙂

I’m reading a book loaned to me by a friend and it’s having a huge impact on me. Line after line is laced with such grace under fire and forgiveness in place of bitterness that I have to put my marker in place and sob after a few pages. There has always been a special place in my heart for those who have gone through the horrid ordeal that we so coldly call the Holocaust but there are a few people of whom I dearly wish to have an audience with when I get to heaven. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one such person. Even as I type his name tears flow down my cheeks. One month. He died within one month of the end of the war in FlossenbĂĽrg Germany. I can remember crying many tears after seeing his story. They were not sad tears. They were angry tears. I was angry at God for letting him die. It seemed so wrong. My eyes and heart do not  always see God’s greater purpose. He reminded me that Dietrich’s writings and stories have gone global. The seed must die before it can bring fruit.

As these thoughts run through my mind I consider another person whom I have never met but she has had a profound impact on me. Corrie Ten Boom. What an amazing lady who was greatly used by The Lord. She had such faith and embraced even those who were once the soldiers who harassed her in the camps. She would say over and over that Ravensbruck, a concentration camp in which she was interned for a period of time, was where she learned many valuable lessons. These are more than just stories to me. They are testimonies. When I feel as though I am struggling over forgiveness or bitterness or something that assaults my mind I often think of the two people listed above and am reminded if God can give them the grace to forgive and love as they did in circumstances far greater than I have had to endure how then can I withhold that same grace?

Forgiving really is the release we are seeking. We feel like we will be let down by letting go of these hurts but what we do no realize is that we are actually holding back. Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” I’ll let that sink in a moment. We know that verse but our pain can, at times, blind us from its truth. Deep people experience deep things . Deep valleys. Deep sorrows. Deep loss. But that is not all! Deep love. Deep faith. Deep joy. Deep strength are also a part of their walk. You cannot have the second half without the first! How is your faith doing right now? How is your joy? I wish I woke up everyday eager to forgive everything and everyone in it. I’m human. I’m frail. I fail. I fall. But one thing I realized is that just because old hurts rise up it doesn’t mean I have to entertain them.

A man asked Corrie if she ever struggled with bitterness creeping back in on her again once she had prayed to forgive. She replied that there had been times that the bitterness has come back and she would pray, night after night she would pray. “There are times,” she reminds us,…” That you must do as it says in Ephesians,…stand. Put your armor on and stand!” I pray that prayer over you and I my friends. As old pains, hurts, failures, words and events try to come back and provoke us to hate and not to love I pray that we would do as the scripture says. Lord, I ask today for your covering over my dear brothers and sisters you did no say pain would not come but you would be with us in every step. Teach us to trade love for bitterness. Cleanse our hearts of this disease, this cancer of the soul and renew us in you! Our victory lay in you,….lord, we ask to rest in your presence. As John lay on your chest and was called beloved, let it also be said of us. 

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