I probably could have come up with a catchier title, but this pretty much sums it up.
You see, I had a situation about a month ago where I tore someone up one side and down the other. I have a temper, which is usually only directed in irritation at my husband and kids (unfortunately). And I was not unprovoked. However, the situation could/should have been handled much better than it was. The after effects of the argument were pretty ugly too, coming back at me.
I was not in the mood to forgive this person for a long time. I was also encouraged NOT to by my dearest, most Godly friends. Their logic, don't do it until it is real. I am not a grudge holder but I was sitting in a big comfy chair of judgment.
I also had a sneaking suspicion The Lord was not going to let me get away with being unforgiving. I knew my day of reckoning, or rather accountability, would come soon enough.
So it did.
This morning, our contemporary service was back in our fellowship hall, versus sanctuary. It was intimate and I felt like I got hit smack in the face with the Holy Spirit when we walked in the door. I also got that feeling of "uh-oh, something big is going to be asked of me" too.
I was moved, towards the end of the service, to forgive this person and to ask for forgiveness. It had little to do with the sermon or anything in the service, God just chose that moment to bring it to my attention. He (again) gave me the choice to go on being the judge, and be judged myself, or forgive and be forgiven. It was The Lord's prayer that came to mind, even though we didn't say it as a group.
Then in Sunday School, studying the Letter to the Church at Pergamus in Revelation 2, the theme is clear. Do not be like the world, be holy as God is holy.
Duh, I can't be holy if I can't forgive someone. That just stands between me and God, the big pink elephant in the room. If Jesus could ask God to forgive those who put Him on the Cross, I could forgive this person for their disrespect and apologize for mine.
It's a mildly happy ending. I sent the person in question a text apologizing. Person accepted but did not apologize for her bad behavior. That's not ideal but I will take it because that's the wonderful thing about real forgiveness. I let go of my entitlement complex and place the situation in God's Hands. In human terms, I wanted an apology, but in God's terms, I am free of the bondage of expecting anything in return because I've already received my reward. I got God's presence and His peace. I also know I don't have to like the way this person treated me, but I don't have to let it eat me alive and do even more damage.
Forgiveness is the flip side of repentance. I had to repent of my bad behavior to be forgiven, and then I could forgive. I did pray that my apology would be accepted, so that prayer was obviously answered. What is yet to be seen though is that this person, who struggles with unforgiveness, would be broken of her bondage.
I know The Lord will answer that in time. I know this person will be saved for real because I've asked for it. Forgiving her also frees me to start praying for her again.
Forgiveness gives you power to overcome, and Jesus has many rewards for her that overcomes. I may yet have to forgive this person again, but for today, our account is settled. No harm, no foul.