Well, I have to say right off, I was hoping that Day Sixty-Three would have fallen on a weekday. That one blessed my socks off! I had previously written a devotion on that very passage last year, pulled it out again this year, brushed it off and reloaded it! It has a message! If you haven’t read it—get alone with the Lord sometime this week and read that very passage–Luke 15:11-32.
Now, lets get on with today! We are reading today from Luke 17:3-4. “So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Watch yourself. Actually, to be more to the point…I read–“Angie—keep thy mouth closed until you have prayed!” Ever had that happen? I will give you two different scenes from my life. I will try to be brief. God was loving.
Several years ago I had someone that was a dear friend cause me extreme pain through a sin in her life and it fell against my family. Now, I will preface this with saying, I ONLY reacted appropriately because I believe that the LORD had been preparing my heart to deal with her. With the very sin itself. It was ugly. The attack came hard and swift. Strangely (or not) enough, it happened after long times in prayer after a weekend where I felt the LORD pulling me in close to Him (where He wants us all to be).
After the tears and explanations had subsided, albeit not from the young woman, I stayed on my face, sometimes literally, but daily I was continually on my face in my heart. When a few weeks had passed, the pain she had caused my heart and home was a looming tower of grief that I seemed to not be able to get around and I felt the Lord tell me one night at church to go to her and tell her I forgave her. WHAT? Are you KIDDING ME?? That was my response.
I was not the one in the wrong—she wronged me! But the persistent voice of God, my Father would not let up. Go to her. Tell her. Your healing will come.
So, of course, after much flailing around in my heart, I did as I was told. I took her by the hand, and lead her to another room in the church. I know without a doubt she probably thought I was about to beat the life out of her. (That had crossed my mind in days past—but it is not my way.) As I lead her to sit down, with much tears and a broken heart, I looked into her eyes and loved her—despite all the pain she had caused. I saw a sinner—just as I had been. A sinner that needed forgiveness. She had strayed from the path. I forgave her. My healing came.
Fast forward about 7 years to when my oldest daughter was dating. She really picked some humdingers too! One particular guy seemed so nice. Until she decided he was a bit too possessive. Then the evening came when she was coming home and she had not been driving all that long and when she came running into the house, her face white, but her eyes full of tears, the short, hiccuped explanation was all I needed. We had us a stalker. He was right on her bumper. Almost. As he tore through the front yard, my “mommy mode” kicked in high gear. I jerked the front door open and asked that young man one question and then without waiting for his answer, I told him what he needed to do, and if he didn’t what I was about to do. I did not use nice words. I was in high protection mode. Still, that was no excuse. What happened? I reacted in the flesh. Totally.
We never heard from the young man again. He saw my face, the wild rage in my eyes and I believe he KNEW I’d make good on my promise.
Later that evening, when I was settling down to pray, my heart was pricked by what the Lord revealed to me. It was my ugly. I had never acted like that. I had never spoken like that. Even in the worst of times in my life. What came over me? The enemy. I prayed and asked the Lord to please forgive me and I knew that my path would one day cross the young man’s path and I would be obedient. No matter what.
Several years had passed before I saw him again. I heard a few stories about him and a few other young girls. He had problems. But there was also a goodness somewhere inside him too. I was sitting on the back row at our Women’s Camp meeting at my home church holding our first grandson. My oldest child’s son. As I gazed around me at all the familiar faces and many unfamiliar faces—I realized this was the largest group we had ever had! Probably close to 400 women were gathered there. Then my eyes fell on this young man. Only guy on the bottom floor of the sanctuary. And then He said it. “Go ask him to forgive you.”
“Now? Right now? What about after church?”
I did. I stood up and went to the row where the young man sat, asked him if I could sit just a minute and cried as I asked him to forgive this “wild eyed mom”. He did. Without hesitation. He then further went on to assure me that were the situation reversed, he would have reacted the same way. He admitted to his stupidity. I admitted to my sin. I was sorry.
God can direct our lives every day when we allow Him access to our entire hearts. I don’t want any unforgiveness in my life. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to another life that is pressing hard toward the mark. I want to be a light for Him….a soul that shines forth His love and mercy.
For, I have been shown much much mercy. He is a forgiving God. I am so very thankful.
Sorry girls, I said I’d be brief….I tried. Truly. Have you got a forgiving story to tell? If it’s too long to add here, put it on your blog and direct us there! (OR, if you’d rather….add it on right here! That’s what the comment section is for!) Take all the time/space you need!
Father in heaven, I am so thankful that You do speak to our hearts. I am grateful that You have blessed my life with mercy, grace and love. They go hand in hand. Thank You for Your faithfulness—for forgiveness! Direct our paths. I seek Your will and direction—daily. Help us to share Your love with others. As we continue on —until You come for us. In Jesus holy name~Amen.
Keeping the faith,