Setting Myself Free & Maybe You Too

{By Diane Bailey}

 

Perhaps it was my own low self-esteem that left the door to my heart wide open.  Perhaps it was lack of faith that took my eyes off Christ and on to others.  Or, maybe it’s human nature to vacillate between flesh and spirit.  And when flesh is winning we are the ultimate losers.

 

Whatever the reason, there have been a couple of season in my life, where the approval and desire to be with people ruled my heart.  Large amounts of forgiveness were required when they did not live up to my expectation of them.  So much so, that I found it impossible to fully and completely forgive until I turn and allowed Christ to take His rightful place in my heart.

 

One of those times was years ago when I went through a particularly difficult divorce.  No divorce is easy, though some are better than others.  Mine dealt with stalking and death threats from a man who was emotionally unstable, volatile, and dangerous at the time.

 

Those dark days changed me forever. It took years to fully forgive and still a memory can trigger an emotion of unforgiveness in a heart that has surrendered all emotions and choices to Christ.  There are days that I must choose not to watch my rear view mirror for a vehicle that might stay on my same path too long. I must continue to remind myself that those days are gone and my life had been redeemed.  This is not the same story repeating over and over.  God has made all things new.

 

There are some days I must choose, even press myself, to believe that what I have given to God has stayed in his hands – the wounds, the anger, the desire to tell someone about the mean inside of them.

 

When my hands opened and filled God’s with all of my hurts and sorrows, I asked in return that He forgive me, and give me what I need to forgive others.

 

 

He is the WayI choose to follow how he forgave others, even in his greatest pain.

He is the TruthI believe what He says, “forgive as I have forgiven.”

He is the Life ­­– Because His forgiveness living in us sets free to live the life He created us to have.

 

 

Can we forgive not because we are not wounded by the actions of others, but because they are responding out of their wounded-ness?

 

People can have one of three responses to being wounded.  They can live as victims.  They can live as predators. Or, they can live in forgiveness and minister to others who are wounded.

 

Can we forgive not because we are letting others “off the hook” but because we are setting ourselves free?

 

Forgiving others does not mean they will want to be forgiven or even acknowledge they have wronged anyone. But to forgive surrenders planning revenge on the one who has wounded.  Forgiving sets us free to find those still in bondage to anger and hurt and in need of a friend.  We are free to encourage from a perspective of having experienced forgiveness first hand.  You are free to seek those who need a friend to encourage them.

 

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Can we forgive ourselves for staying in a destructive relationship too long?  Can we forgive our perpetrators and see them as flawed, wounded and imperfect just as we are? 

 

And here is the hard fact we all must face because it is the root of our pain. Can we forgive them, as Henri Nouwen once said, because they were not God?

 

When we take God off the throne of our heart and put others in His place, even unintentionally, we will always be the losers. And if God is allowed to dwell in His rightful place in our heart, then forgiveness will always be the welcome sign on the door we enter to be in relationship with Him and with others.

 

Can we forgive not because we are letting others “off the hook” but because we are setting ourselves free?

 

Forgiving others does not mean they will want to be forgiven or even acknowledge they have wronged anyone. But to forgive surrenders planning revenge on the one who has wounded.  Forgiving keeps you from walking around life planning to verbally cut your enemy’s Carotid artery.  You are free to seek those who need a friend to encourage them.

 

Can we forgive ourselves because we once expected those who wound to be without fault and flaws, and they were imperfect people? 

 

And here is the hard fact we all must face because it is the root of our pain. Can we forgive them, as Henri Nouwen once said, because they were not God?

 

When we take God off the throne of our heart and put others in His place, even unintentionally, we will lose. And if God is allowed to dwell in His rightful place in our heart, then forgiveness will always be the welcome mat we cross to be in relationship with Him and with others.

 

{Photo credit: Friend walking with Friend and Cover Photo by Diane Bailey}

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Diane Bailey believes God has equipped each of us for the life we are living. But sometimes it takes friends to help us sift through that arsenal of tools. She is always curious about what motivates a person to make the choices they do, more than the choice itself – then walks with them in finding answers. Diane believes that God never leaves us, so she continually looks for Christ in our everyday life, knowing that he is there in the smallest details. She is the author of String of Pearls and has been on various radio and Tv telling of God’s love for those who have been wounded. Diane makes her home with her husband in the Deep South. She is the mother of two, stepmother of two and grandmother of three. Diane contributes her talents in words as part of the writing team. You can find her on her blog, facebook and twitter.

 

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10 Comments on “Setting Myself Free & Maybe You Too

  1. your words speak deep truth my friend. surrendering my heart back into the hands of Christ after a long battle of false hope is humbling and frustrating. yet i am truly grateful that it is He Who directs my steps and not i, that i get to take up my cross and follow Him. Thank you for sharing Diane.

  2. Unforgiveness doesn’t hurt anybody except us. I liked this thought, Diane: “Can we forgive not because we are letting others “off the hook” but because we are setting ourselves free?”
    (and it’s there twice….so it’s obviously important!)
    Thank you for your vulnerable-ness.

    • It is important Jody. God is in relationship with us. And it is a personal thing to be set free by the Living God. I pray those who have hurt me are in relationship with Christ. I pray he convicts them and woos them in a closer relationship. But really, it is none of my business

      My eyes need not be on others. I forgive because my Eyes are on the Father. And how can o look into those eyes of love and not desire to be more like Him?

  3. I am so glad I clicked over to read this. While there aren’t big glaring unforgiven relationships in my life, there are little pieces of unforgiveness creeping into some areas of my life with loved ones. Here’s what I feel God telling me through this… Even a little bit of bondage is still bondage. Thank you. I choose Christ on the throne of it all.

  4. Friend, this is so. very. beautiful. Thank you for sharing your truth. These dark spots that shine brightly under Light, they spread into countless hurting hearts as a fresh hope. XO

  5. Such beautiful words Diane. Forgiveness is a choice and sometimes we make that choice before our heart catches up. How could I not forgive? Look what He’s done for me. I want to be free therefore I will continually forgive, even if I have to ask for His help in doing so.

  6. Diane, This post is very timely in my life. I am wrestling with a family relationship that includes an unsaved person. As I spent Monday in counseling I was reminded I cannot expect Christ like behavior from one who does not know Him. My first instinct is to build high walls and not continue pursuing at all. I realize this is exactly when Christ pursued me! God help me to show Grace seventy times seven, crucify my own desire to be loved or accepted and seriously enter into prayer for soul work.

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