I got hurt the other day. Bruised. Injured. No, I didn’t call 911. No, I didn’t rush to the ER. Band-Aids and stitches couldn’t heal this injury. How do you put a bandage on your feelings? Yes, my feelings were hurt. I wouldn’t care for any cheese with my whine, but thanks anyway. It has been said that those who love you the most will hurt you the most. So true. My offender was none other than my wife, Sandra. The offense wasn’t intentional. To know my wife is to love her and if you know her, then you probably do. She’s not the type who purposefully runs rampant over anyone’s feelings, including mine. And when I approached her about my wounded feelings, she humbly apologized. I accepted her apology and told her that I forgave her. End of story, right? Oh, how I wish.
You see, forgiving and forgetting are two different things. Yet truly, your act of accepting an apology is just lip service if you don’t move on and move past the issue. Move on and move past, I did not do. Sure, later in the day when she asked if everything was okay with me, I gave the typical manly response, “Yeah, I’m fine.” For those younger folks out there, when your spouse says, “I’m fine”, he’s not, he really isn’t. But I simmered quietly over the whole thing all day, yes all day. However, God, being the ironic, funny and omnisciently supreme One that He is, had already set events in motion weeks before to teach me a lesson. Several weeks before this day a friend asked me to do a reading at her wedding of 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Yes, the love chapter. Yes, the matrimonial uniting of this couple at whose wedding I was to read the love chapter was on this very day that I was stewing over my own wife’s brutal, if unintentional assault upon me. The love chapter…pleeeaase! Anything else. Let me read the Lord’s Prayer or a favorite Psalm, but not 1 Corinthians chapter 13. You’ve heard it at almost every wedding. It is beautiful. It is sweet. It is…impossible at times! Honestly! But there I was. The time had arrived. 4:06 Saturday afternoon. I stood before the bride and groom, the wedding party, the minister, 60 plus guests, including my wife and God Himself and read aloud, “it (love) does not brood over injuries.” Brood means to turn over in the mind moodily and at length according to Dictionary.com. I knew what it meant. And ouch! Talking about injuries! The Almighty One just cold-cocked me. Did I turn white? Did the guests and the wedding party notice my wobbly knees? I braced myself and continued to read and miraculously finished the reading. God is still merciful in the midst of His teaching, but He will get His point across. I had been brooding over my injuries, even after the offer and acceptance of an apology and love does not brood over injuries. Surely I love Sandra, so why was I brooding? Because I’m still a big baby sometimes. We all are. We all mess up. Pride, vanity, self-centeredness…these things consume us at times. We all go down the wrong road sometimes, even when we know better and God lets us, because He loves us enough to allow us to make our own choices, but He also loves us too much to let us stay on that road. He will try to get your attention. If you’re stubborn like me, He will crank up the volume. And I’m glad He does. “Because the LORD disciplines those he loves…” (Proverbs 3:12) I need all the help and love that He will give me.
So what is it that you are holding on to? Anger, resentfulness, bitterness?
Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to set things right with someone? My advice is to git’er done before the Lord forces your hand in a way that only He can. These issues only serve to place yourself in bondage. Jesus came to set us free! Speaking of Jesus…boy did he have a reason to hold a grudge! If you’ve seen the movie, The Passion, the beating Jesus took when he was tied to the whipping post probably horrified you. Then the Roman guards drove the long spikes in his hands and feet. Then they hoisted up the cross and watched Jesus die. How did he handle it? Before he died, Jesus prayed for his accusers and murderers. In Luke 23:34, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And as Christians, we are to be imitators of Christ. (Ephesians 5:1) Yeah, it’s hard, but Christianity is not for wimps. One more point and I’m done. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, 26“In your anger do not sin”£ : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.” The devil doesn’t need our help! So go do some making up. My wife and I did. I apologized to her for brooding all day. She forgave me. Sometimes I think it’s worth picking a fight, because the making up is so sweet. I’m all better now.