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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

This Year, Let's Choose Forgiveness

Hello CWO ladies!
I am so thrilled to get the opportunity to share with you and meet some new friends. I’m also very excited about what is going on here at CWO, Lisa and Linda have big plans and I can’t wait to see all the fun they have in store for us!

At the start of a new year, I like to look back and think about the past year and how I want this year to be different. I always have new ideas and aspirations at the new year, but none of them will come about by chance. I have to be intentional about the decisions I make if I want anything to change or improve in my life.

Our lives are filled with choices. Day in and day out, sometimes hour by hour, choices.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20
19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
NIV

I love how God sets before us a decision to make and then gives us the right answer… “now choose life.”

Oh how I wish He did that all the time, don’t you?!

Thankfully, we do not have life and death decisions to make on a regular basis. However, we do make decisions everyday that bring life (joy, hope, growth) or death (stagnant, lifeless, sin abounding) into our lives.

I could touch on several different things here, but I want to look at one particular area in which we all have a choice to make.

The choice of forgiveness or unforgiveness.

Will I forgive or will I hold unforgiveness in my heart?

One of the best examples I’ve ever heard about unforgiveness was comparing it to a person drinking poison and expecting someone else to fall over dead.

When I hold resentment and vengeance in my heart, it defiles me.
It hurts ME, not the person I’m upset with.

I KNOW this one girls.

I have spent many a day stewing on things that others have done OR stewing on things that I perceived they have done.
Can I get a uh-huh on that one?!

Ladies, let this be the year to forgive.
To move forward, enough looking in the rear view mirror.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

We can stumble through this race
doing it our way and choosing
to carry the weight of offense on our own shoulders,
or we can lay it aside-
at the foot of the cross-
and RUN this race as He intends us to!


Yes, you may have been done wrong.
Yes, it hurts!
Yes, He knows.
And yet, He still says…forgive.
From Jesus’ own words:

Luke 11:4
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
NIV


He would never ask you to do something contrary to His will for you.
He came to bring you life!

Trust Him on this.
Look at these verses, each one has something very powerful to say to us:

Rom 12:17-21
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

20 On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
NIV

Sometimes we misunderstand forgiveness. We think we are letting someone “get away with it” if we forgive. Nothing could be farther than the truth.
When we forgive:
1. We take our hands off it
2. We release our hearts into the care of the Father
3. We give HIM the “room” to deal with it as He sees fit.
4. We overcome evil with good!

Let’s pray,
Father, we come to You and thank You for your incredible love for us.


I pray Lord that You would pour Yourself out on each heart that is reading this and hurting because of what someone else has done to them.
I ask you Lord to heal the hurts and give them the strength and desire to forgive those who’ve harmed them.
Father give us ears to hear what Your heart is speaking and the courage to let go of offense. Let the chains of offense fall off us as we yield our will to Yours and choose LIFE by forgiving.
In the wonderful name of Jesus we pray.
Amen.

For further study, I would encourage you to read Colossians chapter 3.

Blessings,
Sue

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42 Comments:

Blogger Linda said...

Sue, I had never heard the poison analogy before. This was an excellent post. At first I didn't think I had any forgiveness issues, but upon reflection, I came up with a couple. Thank you for pointing me to Jesus, the point of this devotional.

January 1, 2008 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Thanks Linda,
As I wrote it, I had to deal with a few things in my heart that I thought were all done.
Isn't it good to serve a God that never lets us be "just fine"! He's always calling us closer.

January 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

One of the most freeing realizations I ever had was the fact I'm not punishing anyone by harboring bitterness towards them. Unforgiveness takes way too much energy - a precious commodity I don't have enough of to spare.

Thanks for an excellent post, Sue...

much love,

Lisa

January 1, 2008 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

So true Lisa.

Sadly enough, I can still find myself in that pit if I am not on guard against the traps the enemy sets!

Thankfully, if I do fall in, I never dwell there long anymore!

January 1, 2008 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Cre8Tiva said...

great words...we all need to forgive...especially ourselves...blessings, rebecca

January 1, 2008 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Forgiveness, there is no better way dear. Be blessed.

January 2, 2008 at 4:34 AM  
Blogger Fran said...

Beautifully written Sue! I love the poison analogy. I love to "stew" on things for awhile when i've been hurt and it does NOTHING for noone! :)

Have a great day, Sue!
Hugs~
Fran

January 2, 2008 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Wonderful post! As I read this I realized I had some issues also. Forgiveness is sometimes a hard thing but your post has helped to make it easier. Thanks for your words! God Bless!

January 2, 2008 at 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Excellent, wise advice. A difficult yet freeing thing to do. This is one area where it's a no-brainer to answer the question "What would Jesus do?"

Thanks for a great challenge.

lindaattaway[at]hotmail[dot]com

January 2, 2008 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Sister Honey Bunch said...

You are so right. Holding onto the resentment will only hurt me. Thanks for a great devotion today.

January 2, 2008 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger lori said...

Sue...
What wonderful thoughts for the start of the year...
I personally have stood in the place where I thought that by 'forgiving' I would surrender that 'get away with it thing'...
I have through wisdom, surrender and grace come to KNOW that your LIST of 4 is SPOT ON!! It's in forgiving that I release myself of the bondage and let HIM, deal with the rest of it...and my heart opens up to do the good it was made to do...IMPOSSIBLE when I harbor forgiveness!!
You got me this morning!!
That list is going in the journal on my desk....
JUST IN CASE...I should need it this year;)
hugs,
lori

January 2, 2008 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

well didn't my comment make me sound like a self-righteous little snot! LOL

lest anyone misunderstand, certainly i struggle with letting others off the hook if they've hurt me. thankfully, i've been through it enough and am attention deficit enough that i tend to move on quickly. like you said, sue. with God's help i don't set up housekeeping in that pit! :)) it would be the other pits that I tend to hang out and decorate.

oh well..just wanted to clarify after all the other wonderful remarks here..:)

love to you all!

Lisa

January 2, 2008 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Wow! What a great way to start the new year. Forgiveness is something we all have to face every single day. Whoever came up with the phrase "forgive and forget" has obviously never been hurt by someone. Something that I had to learn after going through my divorce, is that forgiveness isn't a one time event. Even now after almost 4 years have gone by, feelings of anger, resentment etc. will creep up on me and I have to choose to forgive my children's father all over again. But one thing I have learned, if anyone should know how to forgive, it's the ones who have been forgiven. Whenever I struggle with forgiving, I remember all that Christ has forgiven me! And Lisa, I didn't think your comment sounded self-righteous, it sounded like someone who has been there!
Love you all and I'm so excited about these devotions!

January 2, 2008 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Sue~ THANK YOU!!!!
What a great reminder to press on leaving all weights and pains and sin at the cross. This is exactly what the Lord spoke to my heart also this New Year's eve.
~ By His Spirit we can forgive like He does!~
Sheila

January 2, 2008 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Hi Sue,

Thrilled to see you here at CWO. This post is excellent. I have seen so many people frozen in unforgiveness. It steals their hope, their joy and even their soul. We could never spend enough time reading and reminding ourselves to offer forgiveness.

Thank you so much for this post to begin the New Year. Praying God's blessing upon your writing in 2008. Love and hugs, Lynn

January 2, 2008 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Fratzels said...

So well written. Forgiveness is definitely something I struggle with on a regular basis. I love that will be a topic for 2008 - it will serve as a reminder that I need forgive as the Lord forgives me every single day!

I often find myself very sad that i have gone back to work and can't seem to find the time or energy for a Bible Study. It's so great that I can do this on my lunch break at work.

January 2, 2008 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This is a great article. Forgiveness goes with another hard thing to let go of, control. They are both harmful to self.
Thank you for sharing the scripture that goes with this important message.
Smiles!

January 2, 2008 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Living Beyond said...

AMEN lady - it's great to see you writing here!!!

January 2, 2008 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Xandra said...

Love the poison analogy...and it's so true. We hold on to past hurts and save them up to pull out from time to time, almost as a way to say, "Look...I'm better than that."

Well, none of us are better than that. Not one. Thanks for the reminder that we have to let go of all that garbage and rely on our just and holy God to take care of the rest!

January 2, 2008 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Hello all!
I like to chat back with you when you post and I've been gone all day!
The 15 year old daughter got her braces off!!! Anyone have a caramel to share with her?!

Lisa,
You are so funny!
I knew exactly what you meant by your post and I didn't think you were being self-righteous at all.
I stressed a little about my response to you becuase I said that "I NEVER dwell there long anymore"....well about the time I say NEVER to anything it becomes my immediate struggle- so I take that back right now! :)

Linda,
Yes, WWJD?
One time I was having a hard time forgiving and I asked the Lord- HOW can I possibly forgive them for THIS? And in my heart I heard- do what Jesus did...pray "Father forgive them for they don't know what they've done."
He sure lived it out for us didn't He?!

Lori,
I know that I will need it again this year too! Maybe I'll just have to re-post this mid-year :)

Cheryl,
I've watched my Mom and several friends walk through divorce and I know that is a very hard struggle.
You're so right, it's NOT a one time thing. It can creep back in very quickly if we let it.
I've had to look myself in the mirror at times and say "you FIX your eyes on Him!"
Maybe that sounds crazy, but I've done it!

Fratzels,
We're all thrilled that you can join us like this!
Hugs!

To everyone else...awesome input- thanks!!
I love the community feel of this!!
Sue

January 2, 2008 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Shonda said...

Sue,
Happy New Year Blessings in our Lord to you and everyone!

I felt the Lord gave me the Deut. 30:19 on New Year's Eve. I felt impressed upon my heart that "Choose life" are the choices I have to make in my day to day decisions as you pointed out which bring "joy, hope, growth."

I have learned from the school of hard knocks (and still learning) that forgiveness is powerful & not wimpy. Wonderful things can come from an act of forgiveness. I've seen it work according to HIS word. Absolutely life changing.

Thanks for this devotional.

Blessings in Christ--

January 2, 2008 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Great post! I just added this to my blog. I hope others can get connected through your blog site.

January 2, 2008 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Shondra,
I like thinking of forgiveness as powerful and not wimpy. I think it's because it takes such humility to forgive and when we are humble it frees Him up to be GOD. To get all the glory!
Thought the world may see it as weakness, it is, like you said, powerful!

January 2, 2008 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Debbie,
Thanks so much, there are some awesome women of God here with a heart to help women grow, heal and become all that God intends for them!
Blessings,
Sue

January 2, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Sue, what an awesome post!! through the years I am learning not to let an offense touch me. I QUICKLY try to put on my armor so it cant get to my heart! There us such FREEDOM when we forgive. your a great writer!!

January 2, 2008 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Right on target. Thanks for the reminder. Unforgiveness breeds bitterness and we all know that a root of bitterness will destroy you and your witness.

January 2, 2008 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Good words!
I love the fact that there is a great cloud of witnesses watching us- encouraging us to do the right thing.
Wish I could see them sometimes--I think it would "help" me make the right decisions. :)

January 2, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger B said...

Thanks for the post...Forgiveness is something I've really struggled with. In her book The Summer of the Great Grandmother, Madeline L'Engle wrote:

“Forgiveness, then, is a renewal and for love to grow it must be renewed everyday. This renewal is not one that seeks somehow to return to the past, however; rather it seeks to revitalize the present. To carry a grudge is to live in the past, to live with the bitterness of disappointment of the expectation of a future that never was. Both of these – the past that is now gone and the future that never was – are illusionary worlds. Forgiveness frees a person to live in the reality of the relationship’s present.”

This was a powerful idea to me in my process of forgiving: letting go of the past that would never exist again, no matter how much I wanted it to, AND giving up my hold on the future that never was. Instead, I try (try being the key word!) to live in the reality of NOW that God has given to me.

I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks for giving me this meditation to start my year with.

January 2, 2008 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Amy B said...

It is so God that you wrote about this because I have just had to walk through forgiveness and it is just like God to reinforce it like this! I needed these scriptures. Thank you so much!

btw.. welcome to the team!

January 2, 2008 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Joyce said...

I will write the 4 points of forgiviness down and read them often. It is so hard for me some days to forgive but I know what the rewards are so this year I will work on using the 4 points.

Love and Hugs,
Joyce

January 2, 2008 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

How very true, Sue! I didn't realize until I was reading this that I was holding on to a resentment (or two) from a minor incident last month. Probably those who 'slighted' me have already forgotten about it, so who is it still hurting? ME! Thank you for your timely message!!

January 2, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger kdwhorses said...

Sue,
Loved your post! (as I love your blog) You are a great inspiration to me, thanks for reminding me to forgive. That is a hard thing to do and I pray for it often. Thanks for your shining light and looking forward to more of you on CWO!! Your blogging sister,
Kris

January 2, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Wow, you ladies bless my socks off! I love hearing all your input and how God is steering you on this subject.

We're in for lots of fun in this Cafe' community!!

Thanks for welcoming me so sweetly.
Sue

January 3, 2008 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Thank you for the post...you are so right about unforgiveness hurting US!
Blessings.

January 3, 2008 at 5:02 AM  
Blogger Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Sue, so good to see you over here and listen to your words of wisdom :)

May each of us learn to make the right choices. :)

Love ya much,
Susan

January 3, 2008 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Denise C said...

Desrest Sue,

Great words to start off a brand new year! This is such a wonderful writing on Forgiveness! I am, once again, blessed by your thoughts!

So glad to see you here at CWO! I just love your precious heart for God! May He use you in a mighty way is my prayer!

Take care, my new friend in Christ!

Sweet blessings,
Denise

January 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Forgivness.... I learned that the hard way...On the side of a road with tears streaming down my face and begging God to heal my heart.... After grieving for two years over my husband leaving I hated him and hated her that took him....... On the side of the road one afternoon, broken and no longer to live in that state, begging God to help me.... His words to me were "Forgive Her" Oh my gosh......... Could I do that? Yes I did that day..... it was not an instant change in my heart but it was being obediant to His calling. It was the first day of the rest of my life and God healed my heart.... How precious is His love for us that the most difficult of things that He asks us is the ones that bring the greatest reward........

Blessings for the New Year....

January 3, 2008 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Denise,
That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing it. It brings tears to my eyes.

Hugs,
Sue

January 4, 2008 at 5:03 AM  
Blogger Leti said...

Thank you for sharing this. The Lord continues to ask me to pray for those who spitefully use me (Mathew 5:44) and it just doesn't come easily. It is easy to forgive when people seem repentant, but when they keep hurting you, it just doesn't come naturally. Thank God that He is the One who empowers us to do that which He calls us to do. Lord Bless.

January 5, 2008 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Wonderful post! I am learning so much from you ladies. I appreciate it. Thanks,Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

January 6, 2008 at 1:02 AM  
Blogger Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Great post - you are so right!

January 10, 2008 at 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sister-in-law:

My daughter sent me this devotional because she knew I was hurting once again over some things said and done to me from the sister-in-laws. I asked her to pray for me to have a forgiving spirit and to be able to move on, I read this devotional and could feel her prayers and the burden of my hurt has been lifted. Thank-you!

December 30, 2008 at 4:56 PM  

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