7th May 2012

Why We Must Do The Hardest Things

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (KJV) 

Forgiving others, it seems to me, is the hardest thing God tells us to do, but there is good reason why we must. It is not only that we have had our own sins forgiven and at such high cost. It isn’t only that it is good for us and because not doing so makes us ill mentally, physically and spiritually. It is not only that it impedes our spiritual growth if we do not. 

It is because not forgiving others brings God’s sovereignty into question, albeit unintentionally. If we don’t forgive people, are we not as good as saying, “God didn’t know what He was doing when He allowed that and He can’t resolve the issue satisfactorily either?” 

It makes no difference whether the issue is from way back in our past, in our recent past, or ongoing. We have to put the whole in God’s hands, trusting Him with it. Oh, I know it is easier said than done, because I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt and worn the T-shirt out, when it comes to not forgiving. I have had distant past issues which took me a decade to deal with. 

But also I have an ongoing issue with regard to which I am finding it difficult to forgive people. It was this issue that recently kept me awake one night and during which time it seemed that God spoke to me, showing me the real issue of my unforgiveness. 

When it boils down to the basics, I think forgiveness is simply saying, “Father, I hate all that has been (is being) done and I hate the consequences which I am suffering as a result. I know that You could have intervened to stop it from happening but You didn’t, so I am trusting that You had (have) good purpose for allowing it. I am putting the whole situation, everyone involved, and the consequences which I am suffering, into Your hands, trusting You to deal with the issue and, in the long run, to resolve it satisfactorily.” 

When we find we have picked it back up again, we can pray this again as we come to God and hand it back to Him. We can keep doing that until we find we no longer pick it up and no longer think of it in unforgiving terms.  If Paul could bear with all that happened to him, with all the consequences, and trust God for the purposes, the outcomes and how it all fits into the big picture, can we not try to do the same? 

Just a few lines after the opening Scripture, Paul is able to write, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  And he had already written in his first letter to the Corinthians (10:13), “but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;” 

Dear merciful Father, please help us to come to the place where we can pray the prayer above, letting go of that which is not in our control. Thank you.

Study by Ruth Edwards

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2 Responses to “7th May 2012”

  1. John Rodgers on May 7th, 2012 7:58 am

    Thank you Ruth for this day by day on a problem which I feel affects every Christian to one degree or another. We cannot forgive in and of ourselves. The best way is to admit we cannot forgive and then ask God that through His Holy Spirit to remove all the bad feelings I have towards the person or persons who are causing the difficulties. To remove them and replace those feelings with love for the person or persons. Romans 12 :2.
    Our mind needs changing and only God can do that through His Holy Spirit we cannot achieve this ourselves on our own strength.


  2. Ian Woodley on May 7th, 2012 7:04 pm

    Thank you Ruth for your blunt honesty about how hard it is to forgive others. I think this makes today’s DaybyDay really powerful reading.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us all.

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