And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
I think I’m late to the game, but recently I watched the movie The Shack and it guess what at least part of it is about…God is good. Now if that doesn’t sound familiar you might just not have been around the last few weeks at CC! For me this concept isn’t new, I was raised in a family where it was understood that God was good and perhaps that was a relatively simple and fundamental concept because my Dad is a great example of a Father, so it was easy to see God the Father as good and that He loved us. But perhaps there were a few points missing in that understanding that I have really appreciated hearing more about more recently, especially considering our response to that understanding. Including People…Radically Forgiving…Healing People. The one that catches my attention is about radical forgiveness…not just forgiving others which perhaps is a more familiar topic, but me forgiving me, you are forgiving you…basically each of us personally acknowledging and then letting go of the things that we hold against ourselves and turning those things solely over to God. Because guess what…whatever it is that I could regret or wish otherwise, it is done…I can’t change the past, you can’t change the past and if I’m holding something over my head or you are holding onto something you can’t let go of about yourself…we don’t have to do that… we can give it over to God and let him carry that burden, we can let it go, forgive ourselves. Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded of what “forgive means” …
Merriam Webster definition of “forgive”
1) to cease to feel resentment against an offender / forgive one’s enemies;
2a) to give up resentment of or claim to requital / forgive an insult;
2b) to grant relief from payment of / forgive a debt
I don’t know about you…but there are areas in my life where I can stop resenting something about myself or against others or could choose to give up that resentment…or that I should grant relief from some expectation of payment i.e. forgive. Perhaps there is a long list or maybe it is a short list, but it is something holding you back. But basically what I came to realize is that the things I can’t let go of, that I can’t forgive, they become a part of me, perhaps in ways that I don’t want them to…they hold me back, keep me stuck and not growing in my faith or in my relationship with God, with Jesus. Rather, if I can purposefully and radically and once and for all let go of those things, truly forgive them, place them in God’s hands, then they basically are no longer defining me or my relationships with God, with myself, with each of you, with my family, or with anyone else that I interact with. I don’t know about you, but that is what I want for my life…to not be stuck in the past, but to be growing here and now.