Letting Go

It seems like I am like an onion, with layers that need to be peeled off.  God does some things in a hurry, and others take more time.  I have been going through an intense spiritual and emotional shake-up since Easter, when I had a disagreement with a family member.  The rift dragged up memories from my childhood, of the feeling of never being good enough, and it was like I could hear my family member condemning me and my life in my head.  Every criticism or perceived criticism by this person and other people came to mind, and it was almost unbearable.

For the last few weeks God has been working away at the festering wound of my resentment and childhood pain, getting rid of it for good.  He’s been working on my thinking about my parents, showing me that I need to focus on and remember the good things about them. He has shown me that I needed to repent and change my attitude towards them (Whatever is Lovely…). He’s been reminding me that my identity is in Him, not in my human family (Pain). He has promised me that He’s filling in ‘the pit’ of depression, so that I will be able to jump for joy (God’s Landscaping Business).  And last week, He showed me how to forgive.

Recently I have been reading the book To Forgive is Human, in this quest to forgive and find lasting peace.  It discusses stages of forgiveness and why people forgive, for example, because of social pressures, or because they want peace in their family.

Reading about human reasons for forgiveness got me thinking about God, and why He forgives.  Obviously there is no outside pressure on Him to forgive – He is the one that makes the rules. I realised that forgiveness is part of who He is – it is His nature. He does not experience the struggle that we often do to let go of past hurts and forgive. In fact, His commitment to forgiveness is so great that He paid the ultimate price so that our relationship with Him could be restored. As Jesus was taunted by his enemies on the cross he said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) He had no desire for revenge, only empathy that pitied His enemies and recognised their blindness.

As I thought about God’s forgiving nature, I heard the song “Endless Hallelujah” by Matt Redman, which speaks of Heaven and the perfection that we will know there. All the resentments and grudges we hold here will dissolve in that place. All of our mistakes and wrongdoing will be forgotten. Then the thought came:

Why not let my resentment go, and let Heaven into the dark places of my heart, the not-so-secret corners, where I squirrel away my grudges and bitterness?

As He is, so shall we be.

My Father’s nature is to forgive, and I am His child, therefore unforgiveness has no place in me.

For some time now (for years, to be honest) I had been holding on to resentment for hurts in my past, knowing that I should forgive but unable to find peace. That word ‘should’ is like a weight around one’s neck somehow – all the things that we ‘should’ do but just can not. It had helped to concentrate on the good things about those who had hurt me, but somehow I was still struggling with forgiveness. However as I thought about who God is, and who I am as His child, I was able to let it go. I saw how much I had been forgiven myself, and the sins of others against me were a mere pittance in comparison. He takes away the burden of resentment and replaces it with joy – the joy of a prisoner set free.

All the pain I caused, the lies I spoke, the hate I breathed,

You nailed on the tree

And said, “Follow Me.”

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10 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Hey Jo.
    Beautiful piece of writing and extremely thought provoking!! You go girl 🙂
    Our family scripture for the week is Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
    So I agree … If we believe this scripture, that He is in us and that self no longer lives, than how can we live a life of bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness? Easy answer … It is impossible!! So as the layers peel back and the flesh dies, Spirit rises up and says – the old is gone the new is here!
    Thank you Jesus for your redemptive work. Your saving grace. Your perfect example!
    It is for freedom I have been set free. Praise You Lord!!!!
    Keep writing Jo … God has given you a gift to uplift, encourage, inspire and challenge others 😀

    • Thanks Naggie, your encouragement means a lot to me, because you also inspire me to be honest and not just take things for granted.
      It is a wonder to me how God does things–so different from human effort. I had been trying and trying to forgive, and then when He showed this to me, a light turned on and I didn’t have to try anymore. It is true that as we focus on Him we are transformed. He is most holy and beautiful.

  2. I loved the way you transitioned from the focus of human forgiveness to God ~ The true gift of forgiveness is supernatural and is from God. ~ Our Joy is in Him ~
    Thank you for your sharing of these truths ~ Amen :Y

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. When He showed me this, suddenly forgiving others seemed effortless and natural, when previously it had been a matter of striving. Let us continue to think about Him, and allow Him to work. He is good!

  3. Appreciated your comment on Paul’s post and headed over here. We are truly kindred spirits, I believe, on this journey of healing and into love and forgiveness and fullness of joy. Thank you for this post. Sending a prayer your way as you enter into more and more wholeness in these things . . . oh and the onion thing? I once asked God why it hurt so much to heal, to change. He reminded me of Aslan and Eustace trapped inside the dragon skin and how Aslan had to rip away the scaly layers. He showed me that it isn’t the healing that hurts, it’s the getting rid of the crap already there.

    • Thanks for your beautiful comment! I love the story of Aslan and Eustace too. I just wrote a post about discipline and habits, ‘The Concertos Will Come.’ Will go and have a look at your blog too. It is exciting to see what God is doing in so many lives and the transformation He is bringing.

  4. Just stopping by to thank you for your recent “likes” on Shift Key and to peruse your site. Even though my childhood was filled with horrific abuse, I know that I can say that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus every day because it is not what I’ve done or what was done to me, but what Jesus finished on the Cross. He is my righteousness. It never waivers or changes; we are always righteous in the Father’s eyes because He looks at Jesus sitting next to him first, then as he looks to us, Father God knows the Lord is our righteousness. No condemnation. (My wife and I listen to Joseph Prince a bunch – talking about God’s grace, not the law – listen to him if his preaching in Singapore is available where you live.) Knowing truths like this give me peace, rest, joy and healing.

    • Thank you for your comment. Knowing Jesus is my righteousness has been life-changing for me too. God is in the process of refining me and transforming me from a bitter and angry person to one filled with His love. Thank you for the reminder that there is no condemnation and that all is paid for.

  5. My husband and I are going through deep hurt from my stepson who wants to blame my husband for not being a good father. He was adopted. He told him there was nothing good about my husband that he can remember except putting a roof over his head. He’s angry because he never got to travel like his kids. He’s angry because one Christmas they only got one gift..He’s angry because my husband made him go to church. It is so sad. My husband is such a kind and loving man. He loves the child with all his heart and cannot believe of what he’s being accused .This child is a 45 year old surgeon. He takes his kids on these fabulous trips and is not a Christian.. I have come to realize that so many people remember their children as they perceived it to be not actually how it was. If you ask five different family members to recall an event in the family , they will all tell a different story. Forgiveness of your parents is a crucial thing. We are devout Christians and are broken-hearted by these accusations. Thank you for this post. It is lovely knowing that God works in hearts to bring forgiveness about. That is my prayer. Thank you for following my blog!!

    • That must be heartbreaking for you and your husband. Things have been transformed in my relationship with my parents over the past few years by God’s grace. It has been very painful at times, but looking back I am astonished by the change that has taken place, mostly in my own attitude. Of course I didn’t realise before that I needed to change: it was all their fault. Praying for a change of heart in your stepson, that his eyes will be opened.

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