Drop It

He forgot my birthday.

That day I witnessed a bitterness within myself that was startling. I found myself engaged in a discussion and before I knew it I had rattled off every wrongdoing that person had committed against me. I was angry. I was angry that I had to remind this person that it was my birthday. I was angry that after all these years they didn’t have the date etched into their brain. But, what I realized was that more than anything…I was hurt. It wasn’t so much the birthday that angered me. I had a storehouse of transgressions that I had tucked away—calling it “forgiveness.” The forgiveness I had verbally confessed failed to align with the bitter resentment that resided in my heart. I hadn’t forgiven. Not really. Not all the way. Not at all.

So, I prayed that God would deliver me from my present heart troubles. However, I prayed in vain because the desire wasn’t really there. I didn’t know if I wanted to forgive. You know how sometimes you feel entitled to your anger?!? When someone does us wrong it’s easy to feel justified in our anger and we want to hold onto it because we’ve been done wrong, but who are we really hurting?!? Bitterness had latched on to my heart and instead of bestowing this individual with any grace or mercy I walked into my storehouse of transgressions, loaded up my “ammunition,” and fired. That’s not forgiveness nor am I displaying the fruits of love.

And when you stand praying, if you hold against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive your sins.”
Mark 11:25--NIV

We can’t afford to allow our hurt feelings to dictate our actions. God impressed upon me the need to “drop it.” I had to be willing to drop every single transgression committed against me if I ever expected to be forgiven because let’s face it…I fail to meet expectations too. I hurt, disappoint, anger, and sadden many people. However, despite how often I falter in doing what’s right I’m afforded instant forgiveness from my Heavenly Father.

So, I revised my prayer and asked God to give me the DESIRE to forgive. We’re human. We get hurt when our expectations aren’t met. We get hurt when we invest energy, time, and love into other people only to watch it go unnoticed and unappreciated. It can be difficult to forgive, but God is unable to use an embittered heart. So, whatever past or present hurt you’re dealing with ask God to instill in you a desire to forgive. Then take that desire that He places in your heart and make the decision to forgive. Refuse to be buried under the weight of hurt and resentment. Allow God to free you from the bondage of bitterness. Choose to be led by the Spirit versus carried away by your hurt feelings.