Have you ever had to eat a slice or even a whole humble pie? Well I have, many times in my life. A couple of years ago my husband, being the awesome youth pastor that he is, felt called to talk about grace and forgiveness. I thought it was such a great topic especially since it’s such a huge and deep concept. I mean really, can we fully grasp God’s grace for us? I honestly think that NO ONE can fully know how DEEP and how WIDE His grace is.
We give grace daily – to our children, to our co-workers, to the people who cut you off on the road. Grace has a wide range and covers a multitude of sins or misgivings. But, I’m talking about a grace MUCH deeper than these. I’m talking about life-changing, spirit altering, joy overflowing GRACE that comes with forgiveness.
Grace can be defined as “unmerited favor”. Yep, I’d say that’s pretty accurate. God daily gives me grace, even when we don’t deserve it. Just like the song says, “If not for grace where would I be?...”
After a short message from my husband to the teens, we broke out into smaller groups. I began to talk to them about the “F” word, forgiveness, more specifically, asking them if there was anyone they needed to forgive; I then immediately began to self-examine. In Colossians 3:13 it says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” I realized that there was someone in my life that I needed to forgive. Yikes.
My spirit began to sink. How could I encourage these teens to forgive those who possibly hurt them, when I hadn’t done that very thing!?! So then the conviction set in (Don’t ya just love that feeling?). I knew I had to resolve this issue and I had to do it right then. I found the person who had hurt me 5 years prior. That’s right, 5 years I had hung on to the hurt and pain. 5 years I let it eat away at me until bitterness had developed. I had known for quite some time that I needed to get this off my chest but continued to repress it, because, you see, I HATE confrontation. So, I prayed for courage and then approached this person and through tears asked for THEIR forgiveness. You see, it was them that needed to forgive me. Yes, I felt that they had done the wrong, but it was me that held the bitterness and resentment towards them in my heart for 5 long years. *SIGH* What a relief to get that off my chest. It was like instant FREEDOM. They say the only person you are hurting when you have unforgiveness in your heart is YOU.
After the GRACE was extended and FORGIVENESS was given by each of us, God began to open up so many doors in my life. He is so faithful. Forgiveness is a process. You have to recognize that it’s needed. You may ask, but how often do I have to forgive? What if someone REALLY hurt me or abused me? I think it’s important to remember God’s grace is extended to us – daily, multiple times a day. God never says we’ve gone too far from him. Look at Peter too. In Matthew 18:21-22, he asked God how many times to forgive someone – “7 times?” God replied with, “No, 70 times 7”… in other words…A LOT!!
I want to challenge you with this verse, Ephesians 31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Extend grace and forgiveness and receive the freedom that comes along with it!
Humble pie never tasted so good!
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