I remember growing up. My grandparents raised me. And I was always doing something I shouldn't have. Something to offend them. Something to get into trouble.
As a young teen I struggled with several monsters. Obesity and anger were two that were with me everywhere I went. One of them you could see and one you couldnt see until it decided to pop out and hurt you. But when it did, it did. I hurt my grandparents over and over again.
I hurt them with my words.
I hurt them with my angry actions.
I hurt them with my disobedience.
I laugh now, but there is one instance I recall with both a glee founded in forgiveness and a remorse of my regretful choices. My Pa asked me to make us a mid-night snack, often a peanut butter sandwich with some idiotic ingreditent (like mayo or lettuce or something) mixed in. (Gross, I know). So I walked into the kitchen, opened the bread box, pulled out the bread and began making the sandwich. Once completed, I commenced to putting the ingredients away (like a good little boy). When I went to put the bread back into the breadbox I slammed the door on my finger. IT HURT!!!! I grunted. I yelled. I balled up my fist and punched out the decorative glass door.
That bread box was very special to my Honey (my grandma). I can't remember the specifics but it had been passed down to her from a beloved family member or friend. She loved that bread box. Now I had broken it.
The next morning, when she got home from working night shift...I had to spill the beans about what I had done the night before. She was very mad; and rightfully so. I remember being so sorry. I remember crying and begging for a forgiveness that she didn't want to give me; and, in all honesty, a forgiveness that I didn't deserve.
But she forgave me, nevertheless.
She didnt forgive me because she felt like forgiving me! She just did!
My friends, we have misplaced the value of forgiveness. We get entangled with our feelings and emotions and desires to bring justified consequences into the lives of those who have done us wrong and we, somehow, miss the fact that this unforgiving spirit is one that hurts us and holds us back even more than our offender. Forgivness can't wait for us to feel it. Feelings come and go. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a decision!
I had the opportunity to preach a message entitiled "By & Becasue of" on Forgivness at Relevant Church on September 27, 2015.
I invite you to watch it here.