Here’s a little tidbit about me. I’m not one of those people who typically makes new year’s resolutions. I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch, but for December 31st instead of Christmas. I’ve always been of the mind that resolutions make for temporary fixes to mask much deeper and more complicated problems.
But despite my feelings of antipathy towards committing to a lack of commitment for the new year, I realized that there truly was something to the old adage ‘new year, new me.’ And somehow that new me will include forgiveness.
So, yes I want to tone up and get at least a 2 pack this year. But it has also been brought to my attention that in order for any other resolutions to fall into place, I have to make forgiveness a priority. Bah humbug.
Now before you get all religious on me and stop reading because you feel you have no one to forgive, you’re probably wrong. We all have that one person (or five) that you would rather walk over hot coals than honor any portion of their being. We all harbor a little unforgiveness in us somewhere. And here’s why: most humans will not engage in activities that don’t benefit our lives in some way.
Volunteering make us feel warm and tingly, worship make us feel connected, bungee jumping gives us a rush of adrenaline. Forgiveness does not do that. At least not at first. But it is still necessary.
So in the spirit of the New Year Scrooge-ness, I’m going to list 5 reasons why forgiveness is annoying, but I am still resolving to make this a new habit in 2017:
1) Forgiveness is not what you think it is. You’re going about your life, thinking that you’re spouting forgiveness out of your ears. But most of us have a somewhat tainted perception of what forgiveness really is. So imagine my shock when I learned that forgiveness is not repression. Or indifference. Or avoidance. Or putting on a fake smile while inwardly plotting your revenge. And I was so proud of myself because I had absolutely perfected the apathy-forgiveness move. But real forgiveness doesn’t involve pride or feeling ‘better than’ someone else. And it also does not end with shutting someone out of your life.
2) You can’t pick and chose. All of us have a list of unforgiveables. Things we would absolutely not forgive. Like stealing, cheating, gossiping, or being a Dallas Cowboys fan. But Jesus did not die on a cross to forgive just 86% of our sins. Yet many of us are holding onto that 14% of unforgiveness for others because we feel justified in doing so. And I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad Jesus will forgive me having to pull out a calculator to determine that 100 minus 86 equals 14.
3) You can’t do it by yourself. And this one is really hard because I absolutely adore doing things by myself. I’m a diehard introvert who enjoys books, naps, and Netflix. But forgiveness is not something you can tackle without a whole heap of help. I’m talking Holy Spirit help. In fact, you may want to go ahead and call in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for this one. Some of you have people in your life that will require the entire Triune to make forgiveness even a smidge of a possibility.
4) It can rob you of your blessings. Whoops. Struck a nerve there. This one hit me the hardest. Especially when I think about praying for my future husband. What if I carried those same feelings of insecurity, brokenness, inability to trust, or false forgiveness (see #1 for reference) into my marriage? All because I had not truly forgiven the men who came before? Sure, I could possibly meet my spouse before truly forgiving those who have done me wrong. But would you rather walk into a marriage because he has allowed you to experience grace, or because you are protected by his blessings?
5) It is everything you don’t want it to be. It is saying that person’s name without feeling like your skin might fall off. It is someone telling you that person has fallen on hard times and you hit your knees in prayer rather than celebrate and cha-cha slide. It is being as genuinely happy for them as you would be for a true friend if God decides to bless them.
Can you say that about everyone who has done you wrong? And would God be most glorified if you sought revenge or if you chose to love, forgive, and honor that person? Then maybe you should add forgiveness to your list of resolutions for 2017. And stick to it for life.
Although the process may not be entirely awesome, you must embrace the suck. Because hanging onto that 14% just isn’t worth missing out on the 100% Christ gave for you. No calculator needed.
“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, GROW UP. You’re kingdom subjects. Now life like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:46-48
Hey there! My name is Roz. I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet. I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon. I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare. I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections. I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.