I wasn't prepared for that phone-call.
Have you ever experienced a call that completely threw you? Maybe it was really bad news or an unwanted reminder of your past? Yeah... I wasn't very impressed with the experience either :(
What do we do, as Christians, when we are forced to face our demons? You know, those lovely ungodly feelings reserved for extra special moments? Anger... shame... fear...??
It quickly turned into a very bad day...
Personally, when I am confronted with my past I can't help but wonder what God has up his sleeve. I'm thinking, "Lord, I have already dealt with this! What's the deal?!" I don't like looking back, but I know that sometimes it's necessary in order for me to truly move forward.
God always knows what He's doing...
As you grow in your relationship with the Lord, you will find that there are specific ways He reaches out to you. Each of us is a unique individual, so we can hear from God in a multitude of ways. He often speaks to me personally through music... so it wasn't incredibly surprising when a song came on the radio that I quickly discerned was important for me to hear in my moment of anxiety.
"This is where the healing begins... this is where the healing starts... when you come to where you're broken within... the light meets the dark..." (by: Tenth Avenue North)
I looked up a music video so that I could read the lyrics as the song played & then at the end saw a little ad for a movie that this song apparently played on called, 'The Grace Card.'
Witness the power of... forgiveness? Great... Well, I was reluctantly obedient & purchased the movie on Amazon Prime. It's a Christian movie (rated PG-13 for violence) about the families of 2 cops. There's a little cheese here and there in the acting, but overall it was an excellent film that I have already watched twice.
Grace is literally "an undeserved gift" - The Word of God tells us that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). It is a gift from God.. an undeserved gift. We could never earn the forgiveness of God - it is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ & what He did to save us all.
In the same way God forgives us, we are commanded to forgive each other. We're even told that if we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive us of OUR sins (Matthew 6:15) so this is actually a pretty big deal...
Can we forgive people that wrong us? I think it's easy to forgive one small offense like, "oh sorry for bumping into you" - "hey that's ok, no worries," but what about repeated offenses... or darker trespasses like abuse or even murder? We're called to forgive even THOSE people?! In these situations, it's very difficult to just say "I forgive you" & move on...
I think the reason God made it mandatory for us to forgive every offense is because it helps us understand the depth of our own forgiveness... our own 'undeserved' forgiveness...
The bible references our need to forgive & keep on forgiving (Matthew 18:21-22). This, to me, doesn't just mean that every time the same person wrongs you to forgive them, but ALSO to forgive a person AGAIN whenever you're reminded of the situation & tempted to wish them anything but good will.
While we were still sinners, Jesus Christ loved us & died for us... He died for you, for me, & even for those literally nailing Him to a torture device so that all could be saved. It makes me think of Corrie Ten Boom & how she forgives a man that was once one of her captors at the Nazi concentration camp that killed her sister. Only God's grace makes forgiveness like that possible.
Perhaps just as astounding as it was for her to forgive this man, was his bravery in asking for forgiveness in the first place! Can you imagine being in HIS position? That's not something I would ever want to admit to, even if I had become a Christian after the fact! Killing a multitude of innocent people?! Wow... yet he knew it was something he had to do. He asked for forgiveness even though it was very likely he would not be forgiven by that person. He knew God forgave him, but he also knew that he needed to approach one of his past victims & verbally ask for forgiveness... Only by God's grace was this forgiveness AND apology possible.
"Lord reveal the state of our hearts & lead us into right relationship with all people. Strengthen us to amend the wrongs we have done to others & give us grace to forgive those who have wronged us."
- Amen -