Related devotional: "Unforgiveness: If I Were Judge..."
Have you ever gone down to the altar on Sunday morning, hoping an elder could just lay hands on you this one last time and you would leave that altar never having to experience another day of the pain of unforgiveness? I have been in seasons where I wanted desperately to conquer the torturing thoughts that played scenes of offensive words said and deeds done to me. Then another altar call would come, and I would realize, that although I was sincere about the desire to be delivered from its bondage in the last call, it was still there – unforgiveness. Forgiveness is possible and God will provide the grace to do it as soon as we ask and choose to forgive. It does not have to be a long drawn out process. But can someone just please talk about the hindrances that caused me not to make that choice sooner when I was struggling with forgiving someone? Have I been the only one who struggled with unforgiveness?
I’ve heard so many teach that forgiveness is necessary and a choice. I totally agree with them. As a matter of fact, nothing I have heard taught across any pulpit or read in any book was inaccurate about the necessity to forgive. I knew it was right to forgive. I wanted to forgive. I tried to. I labored and toiled at it. But why was it such a struggle? For one, I couldn’t get past one unanswered question: “Does anyone in church ever preach against those who do the offending? To me, the messages seemed to be biased and sensitive to the offender and hard on the hurt and offended. I’ve heard plenty of messages encouraging you to or rebuking you for not being able to forgive. But sometimes I felt like a rape victim listening to those messages and the judges before me were always rebuking me for not pardoning my rapist or for not giving him a fair trial. I knew I had to forgive. I knew the importance of forgiving someone. For one, it would release me from the torturing bondage and grip that unforgiveness had on my mind, secondly it was commanded by Christ(Col. 3:13). But sometimes it felt like being part of a penal system that would fight more for the rights of the rapist than for the rights of the rape victim. I felt there should be equal justice for both and equal messages preached on the offender and the offended. This train of thought and other unanswered questions caused me to be stuck somewhere in my mind, and it hindered my deliverance.
(Book excerpt taken from pages 136 & 137 of Can’t Shout It Out! You Have To Walk It Out!)
Read the related devotional: "Unforgiveness: If I Were Judge..."