Okay...lesson learned...now I have something to say.
Bitterness totally bites! Over the last few months I have been upset, angry, stressed out to the max, not sleeping well, and having nightmares every night. Oh! and did I mention the bitterness within my daily life and actions? The reason for all of this drama in my life was because of some church gossip that had gotten around about me and my family...it was quite hurtful and devastating to my family and I.
Nonetheless the most sincerest act of grace was needed for me to start the healing process: FORGIVENESS. Jesus did not owe me grace and forgiveness and yet he did what his Father called him to do and he sacrificed himself feelings and ALL! To some this may sound easy...the act of forgiveness. I thought so too. I had thought I was fine over the past few months (even though my wise Momma knew that I was not completely okay...that something was eating at her once joy filled daughter), that I had forgiven the family who slandered my family and myself...boy was I wrong! I had thought I had forgiven them...but the anger and hurt continued to radiate within me; eating me alive...consuming my every day...a real joy-kill.
While I was away on my mini vacation this past week in Florida God began to weave some tattered threads back together in my heart. Although I have been sick since I have returned home, the joy has returned...even in the form of tears of the deep love that I still have for the family who wronged me and my family. I love them...still...forgiveness came upon my heart. What they said still wounds me to my very core, but I cannot change what they have said, I can only change myself and love them as Christ would. They are my brother's and sister in Christ.
God used my time away from "my little world at home" to speak to my hardened heart. God spoke to me through a podcast sermon titled "Offended-part 1" from my old hometown church (Manna Church.) In the message Pastor Fletcher had stated that "offense offends me." "Wow, what a powerful statement..." I thought to myself. I realized that not forgiving this particular family was eating me alive, it was stealing my joy and consuming all that I was. For weeks and weeks I had been having dreams about the harassing phone calls I had gotten and the heart dissevering e-mails that the family had sent me...they were the so called "Hell-Hounds" of my every dream for months.
While in Florida, after listening to the sermon (which you can download for FREE from I-Tunes, just type in Manna Church Podcast...look for the series entitled 'Offended' there are 4 parts to the sermon series.) I prayed to God that morning, afternoon, and then before I went to bed, awaiting the family to hound me in my dreams once again I prayed to God: "God this person holds no power over me whatsoever, and this person has no power over my heart or my mind...etc." That night was the first night in a long time that I did not dream about them jeering or screaming at me, or lying about me and my family. My soul was finally at ease because of two things: (1) Prayer time with God & (2) Forgiveness/Grace.
I didn't deserve forgiveness and grace from God for my human sin nature, but HE forgave me entirely and loves me unconditionally. So now I will choose, not to forget what has happened, but to move on and forgive them...for justice is not mine to be had...to carry out on my own...God will give me justice. Forgiveness, love, and grace are all that I hold in my personal arsenal of weapons against the adversaries: Satan, anger, and bitterness.