Yesterday’s service at Buckhead Church left me feeling bitter, angry, and a tad bit nauseated by what God had challenged us with: Forgive those people in your life that have wronged you.
Those feelings weren’t exactly what I had hoped to leave with and the challenge burned my conscience and soul.
But I knew it was right. I knew it had to be done.
It’s been more than 2 years (closer to 3 I suppose) since this “incident” went down. “Bitterness” would be a gross understatement of what I felt for these men and the situation. In fact, my feelings were on somewhat of a cyclical path that covered passsionate and undiluted hatred all the way to languid apathy and then, at times, simply sadness.
My heart was broken that day and instead of asking Christ to help me pick up the pieces so that I could start the process of healing I simply pointed my finger at the shards and demanded recompense.
Time helped provide distance which helped pave the way for a few small steps to be taken, like personal counseling, but simply following the model that Christ lay before when He forgave His death-dealers never appealed to me – It was a far too simple an option and it couldn’t possibly be the right answer to such a complicated situation.
I was mistaken.
Last night shed light into my soul and reminded me that I have the opportunity to give these men a most amazing gift: Forgiveness. And, that by doing so I can take one step closer to a more true place of healing.
So I obeyed (which is rare, I might add) and the challenge that Jeff put forth, which was to call, text, email someone that had wronged you and tell them that you have forgiven them, was undeniably real and authentic – I could do no other.
And, since I had long ago deleted any trace of these people’s existence I didn’t have their phone numbers, emails, or anything else. Thank God for Facebook. I managed to find their profiles (or their wive’s profiles… maybe I’ve been “blocked”) and I sent a message to each of them that I had forgiven them, and asking in return for forgiveness for the things that I had done, both seen and unseen, in the context of our relationship and the incident.
I’m still waiting for the proverbial “weight” to be lifted or the feeling of ecstatic joy to overcome my conscience and soul… but it hasn’t come (yet). I don’t feel any better about doing it either but perhaps that’ll come in time. I’m more saddened that it all had to happen this way and I feel regret more than anything: I wish I had done this years ago.
We all carry around the weight that is not ours to bear and are shackled by our own sin and shame. I challenge you, like the Spirit of God through my Campus Pastor challenged me, to let Christ free you from the your own created ball-and-chain; it’s just not worth carrying and hanging on to anymore.
And it’s really, really heavy. Imagine what life would be like without it anymore. Imagine what you could do without something like that holding you back.