This is day three of the Release It segment and it’s getting good, so hang in there with us. Bring up Matthew West and his video, breathe through it and say a prayer with me. Let’s go.
Imagine with me if you will that you have this bag. It’s a black bag; black goes with everything, right?! It’s big enough to carry around fifty pounds of stuff and small enough to carry on your back. It’s similar to a book bag. Do you have a picture of your black bag? Good. This bag you carry started out with nothing in it (I know that is unrealistic if you are a mom to any number of children). It was light and easy to transport. You were happy to carry this stylish bag around, but one day someone offended you and it hurt. That hurt went into the black bag and you vowed to never let it go. Your bag got a little heavier, maybe a pound or two. It wasn’t too awful heavy so you went about your day. Time passed and you find yourself hurt by another person and it was a great deal to bear. Five more pounds were added to that bag and it grew larger and larger until you had fifty pounds of stuff in your stylish black bag that you just could not let go of. Your back hurts, your legs hurt and your heart hurts. Pride kept all those things in your bag, but this is not what you were meant for.
This bag was full of unforgiveness. You had decided that you would not let go of the hurt, offences and crimes committed against you. You tucked them away. That weight was never meant for you to bear. God has given you the ability to forgive grievances, talk them out and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Every sin against one another was paid for with the blood of Christ.
Much like the relief that comes from shedding those physical unwanted pounds, relief also comes to your spirit when you make the choice to forgive someone without expecting anything in return. Easy? Um, well that would be a big N to the O! After forgiving them you turn your bag and all the contents over to the Lord. Do not pick it back up. This may be an everyday process and could often be for the same offence. You make the decision to give it God and live in the truth of knowing that the black bag, though it was stylish and help up well, was not worth the weight against your health and body.
Jesus had more reasons to not forgive than any man who walked this earth. He was treated so poorly, lied to, not believed, scorned, spat on, beaten, stabbed, and murdered. There is no one who would have better reasons to hate and not forgive than He, but His heart was not willing to hold such pain. He asked God while He was in His last moments to forgive each of them who betrayed, hurt and murdered Him. 2 Corinthians 2:10 says, “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-is there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake.” (NIV)
Here’s the thing. Those you forgive do not have to be believers, but see that it is Christ in you through which you forgave and because you chose to forgive them, Christ also forgives you. Forgiving someone isn’t so much for their benefit as it is for yours through Christ. It takes a much bigger person to forgive than to keep it in and hurt; to humble (2 Chronicles 7:14) yourself before another who has wronged you and say, “I forgive you,” takes a much more developed heart and strength from which is not our own.
Further Reading in the Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 79:9, Hosea 14:2, 1 John 1:9, James 5:13-16, Acts 2:38, Acts 13:38-39
It’s getting a little more deep in this Release It. Stick with it. You are learning, trusting and healing. It isn’t easy to do at first, but with each day the hurt fades and your heart heals. We are doing it together. Stop back tomorrow for day four; Mean It!