I’ve heard it said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner is you.” I desperately wanted to be set free from the unforgiveness that was eating away at my heart. She’d hurt me . . . more than once . . . and now I couldn’t move past it.
The advice of others fell short:
- Just pray for her. You can’t hold an offense against someone if you pray for them . . . well, apparently you can.
- Imagine you are washing her feet and then pray for her . . . ummm . . . still not working.
- Read 1 Cor 13:4 – Love is patient and kind . . . It does not demand its own way . . .(and then the clincher) – it keeps no record of being wronged. (OK – I’m convicted but still not changed).
I asked God to transform my heart with His immeasurable love . . . I talked about it less with my husband (although he might dispute this assessment) . . . still the unforgiveness persisted.
I delved deeper into God’s heart:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 4:32 – 5:2)
Yes God! Christ died for me, for my sin . . . He gave everything that I might live free . . . I fall short every day . . . and yet I’m dearly loved, completely forgiven, and absolutely delighted in . . . unspeakable gratitude and love for Jesus fills my heart even now as I celebrate the BEST STORY ever written!
My heart was softening . . . as I focused on Christ’s love for me, the thick prison walls of un-forgiveness began to crumble . . .
But to be honest, it didn’t take much . . . a fleeting thought . . . to focus my mind once again on the offense, rather than on the One who paid the price for every offense . . .
Then . . . in a surprising way . . . God broke through . . .
I was sitting in a Starbucks reading Experiencing the Great I Am.
Jennifer Rothschild, Christian speaker and author, described that fateful day in junior high when she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa and was told that in the course of a year this degenerative disease would rob her of all sight. Driving home in silence with her parents, Jennifer wondered if she would ever finish school or leave home or go to college or get married.
Blind . . . completely blind . . . she struggled to grasp her new reality.
When she arrived home, she went straight to her piano, a place of refuge and comfort. She had taken piano lessons for years, but lacked the natural talent to play by ear. As her fingers found the keys that day, she heard a melody filling her living room that was familiar, yet one she’d never played before. The song God gave her that day . . . It is Well with My Soul.
Many have told her it was a miracle she was able to sit down and play the piano by ear for the first time in her life. Jennifer acknowledges, “Perhaps it was. Who knows? . . . The real miracle is not that I played It is Well with My Soul but that it actually was well with my soul.”
I was immediately struck by the thought that God’s the One who did this for her. She hadn’t methodically followed the advice found in some self-help book: Five Quick Steps to Peace and Joy when Your Heart is Broken.
She didn’t follow a plan, she’d met a person – The Person – Jesus Christ – The Prince of Peace, The Lover of her soul. Her Redeemer miraculously and supernaturally brought healing and comfort to the deepest wounds she’d ever experienced. He did the work – He did it all!
Tears streamed down my face. In the corner of a Starbucks, with a book in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other, I prayed, “Lord, do this for me. Remove the un-forgiveness. Do what only You can do and set me free.”
As I tried to hide my tear-streaked face with my cup of tea, I sensed the peace of Christ crumbling walls and setting this prisoner free.
Would you pause right now and draw near to the heart of your Savior, thanking Him for all He accomplished on the cross and courageously ask Him to do for you what only He can do.