Talked with the pastor of my little, Baptist church on Sunday. She actually came up to me and asked me if everything was all right between us! She then wanted to know if there was anything she needed to apologize for! Caught off guard I did not know what to say. I mumbled something like, yes, it’s ok, no, nothing to apologize for, or something along those lines. I really was not prepared for it and we were walking through the church with everybody around at the time. I didn’t want to get into it then. Now, I know I’ve been holding a grudge against her and the church for a while now, and even though I don’t think she’s changed her ways much, I thought I had forgiven her. But I realized I hadn’t, so this week I sent her a birthday card indicating that all the “bad vibes” between us are in the past and that all was ok between us. I knew that this was something I should do whether I actually felt that way or not. Feelings come after actions right?
This morning I dug out my old Life Recovery Bible and while reading chapters in Joshua and Job, I came across the 12 Steps for Christians. My translation is the old Living Bible paraphrase, which I still love regardless of its being replaced by the New Living Bible. Based on Bill,s 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Life Recovery Bible focuses on using the same but differently worded steps for the Christian journey. I began to realize that my Christian life was indeed completely out of control and that I needed to make some amends. I’m not talking about spiritual discipline, but spiritual practice. For me, forgiving the pastor for wrongs done in the church was a big step toward getting things right again. So, in my prayer time this morning, I asked forgiveness for my unforgiving spirit and then forgave all those I perceived had wronged me. They may not actually have wronged me, but I may have thought they did and am harboring resentment. The most amazing thing is what and who the Lord brings to your attention during these times. People I had not thought of initially started coming to mind, one after another. I felt that I had been carrying this huge weight of resentment around with me. Now, I feel like I’ve been purged!
I knew I’d taken the right step in offering the olive branch to the pastor. I know there will be other times of betrayal and other times of forgiveness but it’s not about that. It’s about harboring resentment and unforgiveness. Rather than sit and wait for others to ask it, and most never will, true humility makes the first move regardless of feelings and without expectation of reciprocation. I feel as if I’ve done what I was supposed to. My heart is lighter.
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).