If I was your enemy, I'd use every opportunity to bring old wounds to mind, as well as the people, events, and circumstances that caused them. I'd try to ensure that your heart was hardened with anger and bitterness. Shackled through unforgiveness, because then I could use your heart to corrupt your children. I could make them see that the God their parents talk about is not strong enough to keep their hearts obedient. That in the end, unforgiveness is the ultimate satisfaction to a wound ~
It is so good to be back! I certainly needed the week off to regroup, but I am so glad to be back at it, doing something I love, writing! So, this opening was a big pill to swallow. Forgiveness or a bitter heart, two very different roads to take with two very different outcomes. About four and a half years ago we moved in with my husbands parents. Prior to moving in I had had ups and downs with them, but for the most part we had a good relationship. Well, it is so true what they say about moving in with your spouse's parents. It didn't take long for the arrows to go flying. I never dreamed things could get as bad as they did. Despite my husband standing up for me the entire time, we moved out with our relationship with them severed. I can honestly say that I hated my mother in law at that point. The bitterness in my heart (whether justified by her actions or not) had gotten so strong it was painful. I am ashamed to say that I wished she would die.
It took a few months of prayer and fasting before I was able to truly forgive her. I don't mean I said I forgave her and went on my way. I mean a Holy Spirit intervention, eye opening, heart melting, forgiveness and it felt so WONDERFUL! I said before that my relationship with them was good, well it went from good to great. God turned a bad situation for good, for His glory.
The devil does not want this to happen. He wants us to hold onto our bitter hearts, he wants the hate to fester, the walls to be made stronger and thicker around us. He wants us to use validation for our unforgiveness. The devil wants us to stay on that high horse of righteousness. To stay in the mind set of, "They wronged me", and this is a sly tactic that twists the heart, knots it up, cuts off the blood flow. Validation ultimately will kill the heart. He will use our mind against us. Once the devil has BEGUN the work of killing our heart he then begins to attack our mind. We try to pray but it seems as if the prayers are hollow and dull. We start to feel like praying is just a "going through the motions" routine instead of actually communicating with a friend. And then he will let the seeds of anger and bitterness that are there fester and grow. Once the devil has control of our heart and mind things spiral out of control. We become easily offended to everything, even to our Father. This is because we feel like he isn't hearing, let alone answering our prayers. Whoever tries to help soften our heart we will take offense to as well. The devil will yell into our ears, "They don't know what happened, they don’t know how I feel, they don't understand how wrong it was, they need to mind their own business, they are trying to make me out to look like the one that needs to forgive!" Any of these sound familiar?
When we choose to forgive someone, we're not wiping their actions away as if the bad things never happened, giving people a free pass from the HARM they've caused. Instead we're just sparing ourselves the burden of working two extra jobs - being judge and jury for how justice is meted out in this situation. Give it to the One who knows what he is doing. Someone who is waiting to talk with us. Every single person in these pictures has hurt me, wounded me, and I had to forgive them for my sake not theirs. And I do mean everyone, even my children... even myself. And each time I have done so I have felt the sweet release of it all and I have been filled with peace and calm afterwards, at times even a "Holy Spirit High" as my pastor likes to call it. But it is no easy battle to win, like all good things of God usually are. How we fight back: His forgiveness, my friend… is freedom. His forgiveness. His forgiveness of us makes our forgiveness possible towards others! So lets break it down into steps.
Step 1: HONEST Prayer
Do what? When we go to Him with our request He can see our deepest, darkest, intentions. The kinds that have us praying one thing, yet deep down we aren't committed to the prayer. We had lived with my in-laws for almost 2 years. Things between us got so bad that to salvage any part of the relationship we moved into my parent's house for the last couple of months. My mother in law did things that I wanted justice for. When I would pray, deep down I did not want to forgive her. Then one day I prayed honestly to God. Spilled the darkest spots of my heart. Told Him I didn't want to forgive her, that I wanted her to pay for what she had done, that I hated her and despised her. Yeah, I held nothing back, gave my knotted heart to Him. Day by day, knot by knot asking Him to undo it.
Palm 34:18-19 - The Lord is near to those whose hearts are HUMBLE. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person has many troubles, but the Lord rescues him from all of them.
Step 2: Accept Resistance
This is not some easy quick cure resurrection. We are restarting a dead heart. It is going to hurt. We are going to resist the freedom. We are going to fight the peace God is offering us. But… since we were honest with our prayers we have done the work of giving the knots out of heart over to the one who can do all things; God is going to start our heart again with the blood of Jesus. It will seem impossible that the feelings we feel could ever part from us. But they will! I promise they will. I remember I was in church with my pastor preaching on forgiveness to those we love. I remember talking to God right there saying "Well what if you don't love them? What if you hate them?" As clear as a bell God answered, "Because you are to love all my creations. Hate is of the devil." And before my eyes flashed a newborn baby girl, it was a picture I had once seen of my mother in law. That innocent baby was who I am called to love. That was it, I forgave her right then and there! It felt so blissful, so peaceful, so joyous. Like a stone going through a glass window and shattering it. I WAS FREE!!!
Psalm 103:12 - As far as the east is from the west - that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself
John 13:34-35 - I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will KNOW that YOU are my disciples because of your love for each other
Step 3: Enjoy Freedom
Forgive, not because it is ever easy but because our enemy gets exactly what he wants from us otherwise. He wants us cold hearted, because it allows him to start spreading out to our husbands and to our children with corrupted seeds. When we chose to forgive we are plating the most POWERFUL seed we can into our children. Our savior died so OUR SINS may be forgiven. We have no right to deny others forgiveness and in being obedient to this our Father will open the flood gates of heaven for us! I am at total peace now because of my forgiveness to my mother in law. We certainly do not have the same relationship we had prior to moving in with them. But ultimately I think that is for the best. She certainly has things she needs to work on, but now that my heart is alive again I can pray for her and for her heart as well. It has improved my marriage with my husband because he has watched my struggle from beginning to end. My children will one day know the story when they are old enough but for now I can guide them in forgiveness as one that has done the forgiving. I am no longer a hypocrite to my children, I am living proof.
Romans 6:6-7 We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an END to sin IN OUR BODIES. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin
If any of this is speaking to you. If you are feeling like your heart is hardened and you want it set free again. Those feeling to be removed, then I am praying for you sweet momma, but you must also set aside your pride. Step down from your high place in that cold heart of yours before it plants seeds into your children that you don't want planted. Step down and let the Holy Spirit take His rightful place there and watch the shell of bitterness crack and fall away. Know that you are loved mom! You are so loved, I love you, your family loves you, and your God loves you. He loves you so much He wants to take away the hurt so surrender it to Him and find your freedom.
John 8:32, 8:36 - You will KNOW the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free ~
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