Monday, October 28, 2013

Surrendered Wounds

I picked up a hurt again. Mercy, it was heavy. I could hardly lift it. It's a hurt that has been plaguing me for over a year now. I didn't want to pick it up again, but there it was standing for battle once again. 

You know those hurts. You let them go only to pick them back up again and again. No matter how many times I lay it down, there it is again like a bully who won't walk away. 

So, I stand and fight it. I call it names. I blame it. I stand and remember each and every offense as if it were just today that it happened. 

As I reached for it once again something different happened. I no longer wanted to fight. I seen it for what it is. A hurt. I heard the words, seventy times seven. It wasn't a loud shout. It was more of a tender whisper. 

"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" "I tell you, not as many as seven," Jesus said to him, "but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22

Our wounds like to lie dormant until another cuts and then yesterday's blood pools into anger and resentment. How many times do we forgive our brother and sister? Seventy times seven. As I read this verse again on this crisp morning I am now seeing it in a whole new way. Are we really going to stand and say to our brother, "I forgive you once again. Yes, this makes eighty six."? We are pretty good at counting and keeping track of offenses. In fact, we love to bring them up when we are in a battle don't we? I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday, but I can remember the hurt that caused a deep wound a year ago.

If we kept a ledger of forgiveness would that really be forgiving? Not at all.  I think Jesus is reminding us that no matter how many times, forgiveness is our standard for graceful living. I shouldn't be counting offenses. Forgiveness isn't a number. You know what I count? The number of times I continue to pick it back up again. That's what hurts. Sometimes it even hurts more than the first offense. I have forgiven, but as more hurts come, they build, and then a reminder hits me smack in the face and that wall I have built comes tumbling down upon me. Just the weight takes my breath. 

Yes, for me this verse reminds me that no matter how many times I pick up that hurt I am to continue to lay it down and the feet of Jesus. Forgiveness is a continual journey. I must  remind myself that sin, that offense, was paid in full by my Savior. I forgive regardless if the offender has asked for forgiveness. I forgive to bring peace to my heart. It's that peace that sets me apart. It's there that I find freedom. I remind myself to wear forgiveness faithfully. 

When that offense comes slithering up I don't have to spew words of anger. Instead I count the blessings I have received. I praise God for the forgiveness He has given me. Yes, I remind myself that whether that hurt takes over my life is my choice. I can choose to pick it up and walk in anger or I can choose to keep laying it down and allowing God room to bring healing. I am learning that as those wounds often find space to attack once again and cause a spark of sharp pain, I need to be quick to pray, not allowing it room to fester and build.

God mends my surrendered wounds and reshapes me into a heart of grace. 

Yes, seventy times seven, forgiveness happens when I stop counting offenses and begin counting blessings. 


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