Vacation Declaration

March 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cindy Martin –

On a recent family vacation, during a time of casual conversation, our 13 year old daughter made the following spontaneous declaration, “I tried holding a grudge once, but it was too much work.” The manner in which she expressed herself caused us all to chuckle enthusiastically. Revealing her deep desire for meaningful relationships, she followed up by saying, “I just wanted to talk with my friend”.
While her little pronouncement has brought me much amusement, it has also challenged me to reflect on the high cost of unforgiveness. Hebrews 12:15 reads, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (NLT). We learn in this verse that by withholding forgiveness, we are depriving others and ourselves of God’s grace. It also reminds us that the choice not to forgive results in many unexpected and destructive happenings in our life. While forgiveness leads to peace, unforgiveness leads to misery and our misery poisons those around us. Many of us have experienced the harsh stinging words or attitude of someone else’s misery. Perhaps, we’ve been the ones extending misery instead of grace.

Forgiveness is not forgetting, denying, approving of or excusing another person’s actions. Rather it is an active choice to be a conduit of God’s grace. Refusing to forgive is choosing to stay tied to someone in a link that is sometimes stronger than steel. God’s work of grace in our hearts to extend forgiveness is the only pathway to release. When we choose to forgive, we are untying ourselves, freeing ourselves from an often suffocating weight in our lives.

Matthew 6:15 explains another way we feel the weight of unforgiveness in our lives, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NLT). Whether it’s the weight of being tied to another person (or persons) or the heaviness of our own unforgiven sin, my daughter was right, “it is too much work.” The load is overwhelming and the loss of intimacy in our relationship with our heavenly Father stifles His work in and through us. God never intended it to be this way. He modelled ultimate mercy and pardon so that we could enjoy the life giving lightness and freedom that forgiveness brings.

Prayer: Lord, please show me if there is any unforgiveness in my life that is weighing me down. If there is, I ask You to do a work of grace in my heart. Help me to choose to follow Your example of mercy and forgiveness.

Verse: “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

About Cindy Martin

Cindy and her husband of 23 years live with their two special needs children near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is passionate about people experiencing the difference Jesus desires to make in their everyday lives. This passion finds expression in her speaking, writing and teaching. Visit www.lifemeetsreality.com for more information.
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