Mary DeMuth begins Chapter 9 (“As We Have Forgiven Those Who Sin Against Us: Defy Bitterness”) of The Wall Around Your Heart, she notes that trials are normative in the life of believers- and they often come in the form of people. Rather than moving forward in holy momentum, we become ensnared by our focus on the sins of those who have hurt us.
Mary bluntly states that living in unforgiveness is hell. When we choose to walk that path, we assume God’s rightful place. We want others to come to us for something only God can grant. In the process our heart becomes a closed fortress that no one can penetrate. Furthermore, unforgiveness shrinks our world until it consists of two things- the offense and the offender. The author emphasizes that we’re dangerously close to preferring our bitterness to the company of others.
Mary adds that God designed us for joyful freedom. We’re not built to carry offense. Nor can we, by our own strength, possibly forgive. Jesus not only bore our sins on the cross, but also the sins of those who hurt us. As Shane Claiborne (Red Letter Revolution) points out, through Jesus’ strength we can forgive as well as learn to bless those who hurt us:
“Jesus does exactly the opposite of what most of us do. Most of us find the best in ourselves and the worst in others. Jesus invites us to find the worst in ourselves and the best in others.”
Today’s question: What degree of unforgiveness remains in your heart? How have you been intentional in moving toward forgiveness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the new Short Meditation, “Beauty is soul deep”