I finished reading an incredible book over the weekend, The Unburdened Heart, by Suzanne Eller. I had first mentioned this book at the beginning of the summer on my summer book list (which, by the way, are books you could enjoy ANY time.) I read the bulk of the book almost as soon as I received it- my eyes gobbled it up, in fact.
But the last couple chapters were placed on pause while I focused on my family the last few weeks of summer and the first couple weeks of school. I finally found a few minutes to finish up the book during my hair appointment on Friday. Yep, that’s how we roll.
And you know, the crazy thing is that just the evening before I finished it up, I lead a Bible study on What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst. We reviewed the first two chapters of the book and one of the discussion topics that seemed to hit home with each attendee was knowing how to discern God speaking to our hearts.
How do we know an idea is not just our own thinking but is truly from God? And Lysa mentions that one of the ways we know it is God is when we receive the same message over and over again through various avenues. Perhaps a verbal discussion will come up on the topic with friends. Or you’ll see an article on that very issue. God uses people to confirm His messages to us.
So I finished reading The Unburdened Heart- Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness- on Friday and today, a portion of my pastor’s sermon mentioned forgiveness. He talked about how saying you are sorry is ok in trivial matters, but heart issues beg for the words:
Will you forgive me?
I wrote all of the above so that you would see the back story to this post.
Because sometimes you have to ask people to forgive you when you did nothing wrong.
Through their perspective, you have harmed their spirit, though you intended no harm. And so it is that you have to forgive someone else for needing your apology and your request for forgiveness, though you did nothing intentional. So why do we need to forgive others?
1. We need to forgive others because we need it ourselves.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Matt. 6:14
2. We need to forgive others in order to free ourselves.
Susie takes an entire chapter of The Unburdened Heart to explain the freedom of forgiving others and all that it empowers us to do. We then are released to hear God’s voice, have a future and pour into others.
3. We need to forgive others in order to get over little things that don’t matter.
Pretty much the exact words of my pastor today in his sermon. Only I seriously doubt if he has read Susie’s book, which says the same thing.
With my daughter, Taylor’s, terminal disease of MPS, there is no cure or even treatment. At the end of the day, when I reflect back on all the little things I sometimes allow to bother me, I shake my head at my own self, realizing what truly matters.
For me personally, the practice of forgiving others gives me the freedom to live to the fullest each day, recognizing that holding grudges only dampers the beauty of everyday life. Holding grudges in everyday living only dampers the beauty of eternity. Looking towards God’s plan for our future becomes blurry when we are harboring an unforgiving heart.
I can’t say enough about Susie’s book. I know it is one I will recommend over and over again- so if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss out! You can get a copy here.
And if you want to hear the stellar sermon I heard this morning, you can do that here. Choose “Keeping the Peace.”
I’d love to know:
How do you feel about forgiving others?
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