Recently I have been very blessed with learning a great deal from my wonderful friend, Elisabeth Elliot. Yahweh has blessed me with being able to spend some amazing time with her, but I’ve also been blessed to learn from her via her cd’s and books, too. One of the many lessons that I have been learning a lot about is what true forgiveness is…what it should look like on a daily basis in my own life…and so I wanted to share some of the things that Yahweh has been impressing upon my heart, with y’all.
On my way home from visiting our friends in the south, I had over 26 hours of driving to think and ponder over certain scripture verses, which I loved. I love those quiet times where Yahweh and I can talk and spend some time together and since my siblings were so tired and so thus slept a lot of the trip away, it gave Yahweh and I ample time to really spend some quality time together.
I’ve been so awed by Elisabeth’s testimony and how they so wholeheartedly gave their lives to those around them. Even after Jim Elliot was murdered, Elisabeth realized that she needed to forgive the very ones who had taken her precious husbands life. She eventually was able to do this, and not only forgive them, but embraced and love them! I sat there thinking how I struggle with forgiving such little things in comparison to that, and often wondered what brought her to the place that she was not only able to forgive the murderers of her beloved husband, but to forgive them to such a point that she was able to go and live and serve amongst them! She truly loved these people! So how could I learn from her example and learn to forgive like that?
As I started praying and searching within my own heart, I realized I was far from being able to love like that. But I longed to! It began a journey of prayer, where I just began to ask Yahshua to help me learn to forgive, like He forgave. He had brought to my mind how often I have sinned (even the same sin over and over and over again!), yet he loved me unconditionally, and he forgave me time and time again. Then He brought to my mind the verse that says “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15) I knew that was pretty serious!
But still, I struggled on. How could I constantly forgive someone who has done the same thing over and over and over again? Could I? Was I expected to? I’m talking about little things. Every day things. Yes, maybe even some larger things.
As I was pondering all this, Yahweh brought a couple passages to my attention. The first one was the John passage, and the the second one really convicted me, and that was the Matthew passage. Let’s read them together.
Joh 8:4-11 “They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Yahshua stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Yahshua was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Yahshua had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Yahshua said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Matthew 7:3-5 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Ouch! Why do I so often think I can pick up the first stone?? Why is it often so easy to dwell on the imperfections of another, when I am so sinful myself? Was I honestly without sin? Surely not! Yet, to not forgive another was to say that I was holier than they were. I love how Yahshua tells the lady, who was clearly guilty, that he forgave her, too.
Sisters, we are all sinful. None of us are without sin and all of us need forgiveness. Can we truly look someone in the eyes and tell them we hold nothing against them? Can we truly forgive and love like He does? This is my constant prayer. I know I need forgiveness. I need it desperately, and sadly, I need it constantly. So, why is it so hard sometimes, to offer it freely, but never so hard to demand it constantly?
We watched a video the other night about how this young boy did something which caused another to be drastically hurt. The sister of the hurt brother, refused to forgive the boy who had done the harm. Her grandmother tried and tried to tell her it was only going to hurt her if she didn’t forgive. But she wanted the boy to pay for hurting her brother. Her grandmother tried to tell her that he had been hurt enough and only needed to be loved and forgiven, but she didn’t heed her grandmother’s advice, and went and spread the news through the town. Needless to say, it caused the boy to lose all his friends and have everyone condemn him. He couldn’t go anywhere without someone commenting on what he had done. He was sorry, but it wasn’t enough. And for quite awhile, this girl had the power to destroy him…and also had the power to build him up. Sadly, for quite some time, she used that power to hurt and destroy.
I walked away thinking about how this applies to our own lives. Sisters, we really do have the power to “hurt and destroy”…to tear down. But we also have the power to forgive, to love, to build up, and to heal. Elisabeth chose to heal, build, love and forgive. She had every right (so we humans think) to do quite the opposite. But had she done that, would that entire tribe have the gospel now? Would the very ones who once took her husbands life, be preaching that gospel, had she not shown them what true forgiveness is? Forgiveness for which they hadn’t yet asked her for and quite frankly, probably didn’t even realize they needed it?
I sat there pondering it all, my own sin flooding my mind and I realized that I am the last person who can withhold forgiveness and love. Yes, sometimes we too, are too prideful to admit we’re wrong. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are wrong. But that doesn’t change the fact that we often are.
I shutter to think of how many times I have been that girl in the movie. How many times have I, in frustration, shared how someone had wronged me? How often have I refused to forgive, sharing what others have done, thus damaging their reputation, instead of choosing to love, which in and of itself requires us to cover that sin? I think of the many older ladies who people have shared their testimony of never sharing anything negative about others, and I can’t help but pray that that will one day be my own testimony! Will I ever come to the place where I truly cover others sins, with love? Choosing to give life, instead of taking it? I think of the little things. It really doesn’t matter how much we have to forgive. Maybe it’s the constant annoyances? Maybe it’s much bigger. But regardless as to what the sin may be, could I forgive them, like I want Yahshua to forgive me? Could I treat them, like I want Yahshua to treat me? Could I love them, like I knew Yahshua loved me? Remember, how we forgive, is how we will be forgiven by our God. That’s pretty deep!!
“Oh, Yahweh, help us choose to cover each others downfallings and shortcomings. Help us to love like you love us…to choose to forgive, even when it is hard to forgive. Help us to reach out and offer life to those around us, the life which you so freely and constantly offer us. Help us to guard the words we say. Help us to always be those who encourage and build up those around us, dwelling on the sin within our own lives, before dwelling on the sin of others. May we all have a love like your love!”
Pro 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”
Pro 17:9 “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is goodto the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”