For so many more years than I’d like to admit I’ve lugged around this heavy baggage of hurt, resentment, judgment and plain out unforgiveness for a person who is at the same time, very dear to my heart. Strange I guess how we can love someone and yet hold them hostage in our mind and heart at the same time. Or can we? This is the question I’ve forced myself to answer for myself.
Is it possible to really love someone, yet say that the relationship is just too broken to ever be fixed?
That is completely what I had I had chalked this particular relationship up to. We live 20 minutes away from each other, we celebrate special events and holidays together, we have the same blood coursing through our veins – yet we couldn’t be any further apart. This relationship, in terms of everything that makes up a true, alive relationship, was dead. And I – had actually become okay with that. I was convinced that this was just the way things were, I was done, I couldn’t change it or fix it (or her) and we were both probably better off this way.
I had convinced myself there was too much wrong to be right. But then there’s this: “Though our hearts are filled with sins, you forgive them all” – Psalm 65:3
too much broken to be whole. Colossians 3:13
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
too much offense to just let go of. “Come now, let us argue this out,’ says the LORD. ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool” – Isaiah 1:18
I had already made up my mind that the relationship was toxic for me and my life would probably be better this way. Besides, I have a good life, plus my relationship with God. Mark 11:25 –And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
But the one that really nailed me was this: Luke 7:47-48
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
I have been forgiven much. What then, gives me the right to put self-imposed limits and boundaries on whether someone else deserves my forgiveness? Am I a righteous and holy God? Did I willingly give up my life to pay for the sins of an entire world so they could again have rights to intimacy with me after all they had done against me?
Who the heck am I?
When we talk about and promote love, love, love, it sounds like a fun, groovy message and all. But walking it out in real life isn’t so cool. Sometimes loving means forgiving and allowing healing and reconciliation to take place in our own heart…and that doesn’t feel so good to our human nature. Why? Because it requires that we let down our walls and let go of being right – our ego and pride. “Letting someone off the hook” completely goes against what feels comfortable. We get so busy standing up for ourselves, and “loving the rest of the world” (in Jesus’ name of course) we can’t even love and forgive those of our own household.
So after twenty something years of stubbornness, and being convinced it was definitely NOT my fault our relationship is broken: Here’s a small portion of what I said:
I know we’ve had our differences in the past, and we probably always will. But relationships are just like that, even good ones. We don’t have to always agree in everything or even get along to love and accept each other unconditionally. I choose not to dwell on everything that isn’t perfect in our relationship. There is much I can’t change.
You are the missing piece in my life in order for it to be complete. You are very valuable, needed and desperately wanted.
I lay down my sword and release you from any unforgiveness or bitterness I may have stored away against you without even meaning to or realizing it.
Holding nothing from the past that no one can change against you, I invite you to be a part of my life in a greater way. With all of my heart, I love you.
Your daughter forever.
When Christ forgave me, and extended mercy for my failures time and again despite His broken heart, my right to not love in that same way isn’t an option. Forgiveness is a gift given freely to me by Jesus.
So I must give away, what isn’t mine to withhold.