Do I Unfriend You or Forgive You?

Have you ever noticed how much easier it seems to hold onto a grudge…frustration…bitterness…upsetness…anger…

To give a person a cold shoulder…

Or to pierce them with words spears and laser glares…

Or just plain unfriend them…

Than it is to forgive them?

Or when we have made the decision to forgive them, we keep on digging up and thinking about what was forgiven…

And the whole cycle of frustration and bitterness begins again.

In all honesty, sometimes it seems easier to just “unfriend” someone, than to go to the work of forgiving them…

Because, forgiveness is work…

It takes effort…

It takes action.

It takes love.

It takes compassion.

It takes patience.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I get to keep a tally of the wrongs committed against me, and then when a magic number is reached, I can turn off the forgiveness dial and turn on the “let them have it” dial.

Forgiveness means that in spite of the wrongs done to me…no matter how many…

I don’t judge, condemn and then inflict punishment that I deem suitable on someone…

Instead, I lay aside the “wrong” that was done to me and respond to them with a gracious and kind spirit, instead of one full of bitterness and anger.

And you know what?

This isn’t easy…

It takes action on my part.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

I once had a good friend – still do actually:D – with whom I go into an argument.  Days passed as we went back and forth, each one pointing a finger at the other…

Each one of us felt that we had been the one wronged, and we needed to make sure that the other knew exactly what had been done.

Bitterness and frustration took root in my heart over the other side’s unwillingness to back down and admit what I was sure was their wrong.

But you know what?

I realized that neither was I.

Finally, after a period of time, we talked and although I don’t remember what was said, I do remember that we decided to put this event behind us…we couldn’t change what had been done.  We chose to lay aside the wrongs that each of us had done against the other, and…

Forgive each other.

Yet, without fail, every time I thought of this person I would become frustrated and annoyed and began pointing the finger of my mind in their direction…

And then when I saw them, I would respond to them out of that bitterness that was in my heart.

And that is where God tapped me on the shoulder…

Do you know how many times a day I go to God and ask Him for forgiveness for a wrong thought…a mean or careless word spoken…a stinky attitude…an impatient heart…an arrogant action?

It’s a lot.

Somehow it seems that the more time that I spend with God in His word, I see how much of my attitudes, thoughts and actions still need to be refined in order that I can more clearly reflect the image of Jesus.

But God doesn’t hold these wrongs against me…

He doesn’t unfriend me.

He forgives me.

Again and again and again and again and…

Well, you get the picture.

1. John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In that tap on the shoulder that day, God taught me an aspect of forgiveness that I had not realized before.

QuillsWhen I forgive someone, bitterness, anger, frustration and so many of those other attitudes that can creep in…

Should no longer have a place in my heart or in my mind.

If God doesn’t keep on dragging up the past wrongs and flinging in my face the past wrongs that I have committed against Him…and I am so thankful He doesn’t…

Why do I do this to people that I have forgiven?

Ephesians 4:32 says, “But be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ Jesus forgave you.”

That day, when God tapped me on the shoulder, I learned that when I forgive someone…

I also must stop letting bitterness take root in my thoughts about them.  I had to shut the door on resentment taking root in my attitude against them.  I had to stop responding to them with the actions that reflected this resentment and bitterness.

And that wasn’t easy.

Truly, it seemed like it would have been easier to just unfriend them…

But that is not what I was called to do.

Jesus calls me to be kind…tender hearted…compassionate to those who have wronged me…

And forgive them.

Just as God, in Christ Jesus forgave, me.

And so began my journey of learning to forgive – not just with words, but…

From my heart and my mind.

Whenever I bitterness and frustration came knocking, I kept going back to the day that my friend and I had forgiven each other.

And I shut the door on the bitterness and frustration.

In the beginning steps of this journey, I was surprised at how often they came calling…

Too many times a day to count.

But God enabled me to begin to first just keep the door shut when bitterness and frustration and anger came calling.  During this time, I wasn’t actively seeking to spend a lot of time with this person.  I was actively putting into action remembering that I had forgiven them, therefore, I should no longer be bitter towards them…

Then, as I was no longer conforming to my old pattern of thinking, my mind began to be transformed.  As I said goodbye to the poison of bitterness I was able to replace them with kindness and a tender heart towards this person.

Instead of unfriending them…

I learned to forgive…

To truly forgive!

Unfriend or forgive