The Joy of Forgiveness


I heard a very special radio program on the way home from work tonight. A man was literally walked through the steps and the prayers of forgiveness towards his ex-wife who has torn him down for years and used his son as a weapon to hurt him. She tried to tear him down in his son’s eyes. It was so powerful and moving. Forgiveness is SO freeing. Not just when we receive it, but when we give it too. I prayed right along with Him. There are so many people, women especially, in my life throughout the years I have needed to forgive. There is so much I have needed to let go of.

My counselor has taught me a very important distinction between forgiveness and trust. You still need to guard your heart, and trust is something to be earned. But forgiveness is something we are called to give. It is something that does not need to be earned, because Christ offers it freely to us. It is not something we can earn ourselves, so why should we charge for it?

What are you still holding on to? Who do you need to forgive? It doesn’t mean you lift healthy boundaries and let those who hurt you have a foothold in your life. It just means that you are no longer captive to bitterness, anger, resentment, or even hatred. You can be set free from all those things. It’s a part of that changed heart I talked about before. It’s an important part to having joy that comes from within.

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If I Just…


You know, I’ve spent my whole life thinking, “If I just [fill in the blank] I’ll be happy.” It was always, “If I just have a girlfriend, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just have a car, then I’ll be happy.” “If I become a rock star, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just lose the weight, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just make more money, then I’ll be happy.” “If I marry a beautiful woman, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just relocate, then things will start looking up.” And at least those things can have a positive connotation to them. But sometimes things get a bit darker, don’t they? Maybe for you it’s been, “If I just drink this… if I just smoke this… if I just give my body to him/her… if I just conquer him/her…” “If I just, if I just, IF I JUST…” That’s it. It’s always been about what I could do… it’s always about what WE can do… the next thing to try or that next step. But you know what? Maybe it’s not about all the external things. Maybe happiness doesn’t come from the outside in, but instead from the inside out.

The heart… the heart is the root of the problem. The Bible says our heart is a liar. Yeah, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Yet the world tells us to follow it. It tells us to follow our heart. And then we move on to verse 10, “‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” The “reward” mentioned here isn’t always the good kind, either. It’s about our heart. Did you notice that our DEEDS are weighed according to our heart and mind? Even our “good” deeds are measured by what’s within. And it doesn’t stop there. Our words are telling of what lies within as well, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” -Matthew 12:34b. I know I’ve said some DISGUSTING things. I know I’ve said some DAMAGING things. You think they’re just words? Words hold the power of life and death. Words MEAN something.

What are you saying? What are you doing? What are you chasing, or better yet, what are you running from? For goodness to flow, we need a changed heart. For happiness, or better, joy to enter our lives, we need a changed heart. It’s not about what WE can do. It’s not about what WE can add to our lives. “If I just, if I just, if I just…” No, I reject that. Instead, “What He will, what He will, what He will…” Will you surrender? Will you offer your diseased heart over to the One who can… who WILL? It’s time to let go of the external and EMBRACE the eternal to live and dwell IN us… and change us… from the inside out.