It’s a good thing grace is at the core of this thing we call faith, I thought to myself.
I struggled to worship, even to pray, as I mentally reviewed a list of offenses. An elderly neighbor roared at small children for squealing on their bikes as they rode past his home. A pal didn’t respond to a friend request on Facebook. On a power walk with a friend in my neighborhood, I frowned as she chatted on the phone with another friend most of the way.
I need to forgive a stadium full of people, I thought. I mulled it over. Maybe I can get ahead of the power curve. After all, spiritual maturity should be our number one goal, right? Hey, I thought, maybe this forgiveness thing is a race.
I tied on my Nikes, bent a knee to the ground, primed the sole of my foot against the starting block, spread my fingers onto the coarse track, and listened for the starting pistol to puncture the morning air with an explosive boom!
Each time I was offended, I challenged myself to forgive quickly. Like a sprinter in a two-hundred-meter race, I determined to shorten the time from the offense to forgiveness. A kind of personal best.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
“Father,” I prayed, “Show me how to do Your will and love like Your child.”
My stubborn pride tried to cut into my lane and trip me up. But I brought each soul-hurt to our Comforter and Counselor, Co-Co. Together we considered each person. He asked me to trade judging them for treating them with compassion.
Grudges slowly dissolved. What once took months to release gradually took weeks. What took weeks soon became days. What became days, I purposed in my heart, would take only hours. Maybe minutes.
Did I blow it? Yep. Many times. But in the process, I hoped that if I kept short accounts with those who hurt me, maybe I’d grow up. Just maybe.
With a rather self-satisfied smile, I asked my Divine Coach, “So how am I doing?”
Kindly, gently, Co-Co said, “Take another look.”
Together we reviewed the tape of situations when I got angry. My steel eyes, tense jaw, crossed arms and ugly heart looked anything but mature.
He said, “It’s not about how fast you forgive, although you’re on the right track. It’s about not taking offense in the first place.
“It’s about becoming Unoffendable.”
Friend, what if in the transforming presence of God, in the fullness of His pleasure, we wouldn’t—in fact couldn’t—take offense?
How can we posture ourselves so that God’s heart becomes ours? What mindsets do we need to unlearn so that we can empty ourselves and get filled with Him? What fills our souls with the One Who Accepts Like None Other, so that nothing can disturb us?
Kick off your Nikes, friend. You’re standing on holy ground.
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