Volumes have been written about forgiveness. As pastors, we regularly rotate messages on forgiveness in our yearly sermon plans. I’m certain I won’t write anything you haven’t read before, or personally shared with others. But before you stop reading this blog, indulge me just a bit.
In dealing with HUNDREDS of pastoral families, I find forgiveness is a major challenge for most of us. We preach it, teach it, and insist that it is a vital part of living the “abundant” life. But we still struggle fully implementing it in our daily lives.
Isaiah writes these words in Isaiah 43:18-19:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
We all experience hurt and deep disappointment in ministry and it is impossible to remove these hurts from our memory.
Selective amnesia is impossible. But we can break the power of influence and control of those hurts by choosing to stop dwelling on the past. We can’t change anything in the past, but we can learn from it. If I don’t forgive, there is a very good possibility I will miss the “new thing” that God is laying the foundation for in ministry and family life.
Now I want to get personal. Sometimes the greatest challenge in forgiveness is involved in forgiving myself. We seek and accept God’s forgiveness, but struggle with the reality that not only has our actions hurt others, but we can’t believe we allowed our sinful choices to go as far as they did.
Break the stronghold of unforgiveness of others and yourself by focusing on the present things God is doing in your life. Don’t miss out on God “making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”