Chapter Three, Part One
Matthew 13:10-17 NKJV
Mark 4:22 NKJV
The Art of Forgiveness
A definite perk to forgiveness is that once we forgive and allow God to help us with the hurt, we experience a release.
We are set free from the chains that bind us! It may not always feel like elation, but most of the time we feel like a weight has been lifted off of us.
But it doesn’t always feel wonderful and it can seem like even when we forgive and turn it over to God, we can get discouraged. That’s because often cannot easily SEE the evidence of God at work in the other person’s life.
We are human.
In Matthew 13:10-17 we read, “And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Jesus’ words seem to be confusing. He said we can see and hear and there are times when we need to look harder to have eyes to see and ears to hear. That’s why Jesus spoke in parables. We have to go to God, listen, and think about what a parable means. We have to dig deep.
In Mark 4:22 we read, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open”.
Again, we have to sit with God and listen to what Jesus was saying here.
The big picture is that there are times we have to dig deep and spend time with God. God wants the answer to be known and we know the answer by spending time with God.
God wants the concealed secret information about Him and about the Gospel to be known, but sometimes we have to ask God to show us what it means.
We look for the answer and while we look we get to know God.
Think of it this way…how does a child learn from a parent? The child may not know it, but the parent knows the answer. If the child really wants to know the answer, they go to the parent and ask for the answer. Ultimately the child will need to be patient enough to listen to what the parent says. The child believes that the parent knows the answer so they wait and they listen.
As they wait and listen, the child will sit on their parent’s lap. They may snuggle. As they sit they get to know their parent and a deeper relationship forms.
That’s what God wants with us.
He could make understanding the Gospels easy, but then His children would not need to spend time with them.
Our time and the return of our love is what God wants.
Finding the truth of God takes time and energy. We have to be open to God’s truth and we have to be teachable and willing to change. Seeing and hearing God’s truth is not always an easy path.
It’s the same when we learn how to pray…how to talk to God. Knowing God takes time and a bit of patience. One of the best ways to learn to pray is to ask the Spirit to teach us. We even learn what to ask for when we pray.
It’s more about developing a relationship with God than getting what we want.
People often don’t take time to really get to know God.
So it is with forgiveness.
Forgiveness is really more about getting to know God than it’s about the forgiving. As we spend time with God we learn the actual truth about forgiveness. We begin to see things as God sees them.
We learn by spending time with God.
I’d say when I struggle with my pain after I forgive someone and I spend time with God listening and learning, I walk away with the great gift of seeing and hearing as God sees and hears. The ‘thing’ I struggled with then seems inconsequential.
The relationship with God means so much more than the details.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: spend time with God
Sit with. Sit in silence. Listen. Wait. Get to know God.
In God, Deborah