Have you ever embarked on a journey where you know once you get to your final destination you will be excited and the road there will have been worth traveling on?
Some journeys are leisurely and others are a must. There are those roads we gladly take and others (like in Italy) that are going to cost to travel on. Along the way we will find ourselves on roads that are so smooth and easy to drive on. Others are filled with bumps, potholes, and even debris. Sometimes there are detours, traffic, even accidents that cause the journey to take longer than we expected.
There are journeys in life that are scary-perhaps we are afraid of what we may encounter along the way. It could be a road never really traveled before and the newness of it causes a bit of fear. Perhaps just thinking about the journey exhausts us and it seems like something that is going to take forever.
I remember as a youngster when we would go on family vacations. Imagine my parents with 6 kids in the car!!! As soon as school was out we would go to our house in the mountains –or as we called it “The Lake” since there was a lake right across the street that we spent most of our time at. About an hour into the trip one of us was asking “Are we there yet?” Soon to be followed by “how much longer til we get there?” and other time-related questions.
When I was in the states I saw a book some friends were reading “Choosing Forgiveness” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
I like every book I have read of hers and knew this one would be no different. It was also a subject matter that I knew in my heart I had to address.
A couple weeks ago, it was time to begin reading it. I knew that once I took the book into my hands and made the decision to read it I also had another choice to make. Was I going to read it as just another good book with biblical lessons or journey with the Lord on the road to forgiveness? It wasn’t something I could take lightly. There was literally a lump in my throat and even a tinge of fear as I looked at the book and decided it was time to read it.
“We simply don’t have any choice about many of the things that happen to us. Our only hope lies in realizing that we do have a choice about how we respond to life’s circumstances-and it is those responses that determine the outcome of our lives.” This is one of the quotes in the beginning of the book. So true and something similar to what most of us have heard before.
I have only read up to part of Chapter 2. There is a section where Nancy lists some things –as I read them and pondered my response to each one; it became even more evident that this is a choice much needed in my life-the choice to forgive, to allow God to do the work necessary in my heart. I was really ashamed of myself when I read those things and my response to them. My heart was so, so sad when the truth of what was in my heart was there before my eyes. Thankfully, God knows what we have need of and He appoints a time in our lives when He lays it before us –showing us our hearts and asking us to make that choice to allow Him to begin the work. To not forgive is sin-how much clearer can God's Word be. I rejoice in knowing that He doesn't just say this is what we have to do. He gives us His own example time and time again. He goes on this journey with us. He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to make the hard choices that need to be made.
I say a lot of things and I actually do mean them. When I say that I want to be able to forgive and I want to be kind to those who it’s so difficult to be kind to, I honestly mean it. But in these past couple of weeks it is becoming clear to me that saying and doing are two different things. I can say ‘oh I want to take a trip to England’ (ha ha, yes I really do) and talk about all the neat places to visit once there-but if I never get in the car or plane and go-what good is it?! Saying something and even having a deep desire to do it is non-productive if I don’t take the next step.
I think for so many of us, the forgiveness that needs to take place isn’t always some huge issue in the realm of things. For many of us it is personal, it has to do with people and words spoken, attitudes taken, hurtful things that we can’t seem to get past. Who was the wacko that made up that silly rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. How dumb is that!! Often it seems easier to have someone throw a stick at us because at least the pain from that goes away. (No, I am not advocating throwing things at each other!!!) But words-oh how they sting, how they play over and over again in your mind. Once said, they cannot be taken back. I remember saying something to someone a couple years back and right as the words were coming out I knew at that very moment I shouldn’t have said them and yet there they were-they couldn’t be taken back! How I wish there was a delete button for the mouth!!
How do we forgive people who don’t think they have done anything wrong? How do we truly 100% hand over these things to the Lord and never ever take them back? I don’t know, but I want to find out.
On the cover page of the book, beneath the title is a subtitle-Your Journey to Freedom.
It’s so true! The end of this road leads to freedom! I want to know that freedom. I don’t want unforgiveness to have a foothold in my life and affect the way I think about certain things. I want to be able to go back to the 2nd chapter of this book and answer ‘no’ to each question asked. I desire that freedom that can only come from yielding completely to Jesus and His ways, His Words, His touch. To be clay in the Potter’s hand!