Holy Habits - Forgive
by Ann Sallie
Have you heard parents prompt a child, “Say, you’re sorry?” After a little or maybe a lot of coaxing, the child may finally frown and say, in a barely audible voice, “SORRY” As adults, we are disappointed, since we are pretty sure the “SORRY” was not genuine. However, how many times, maybe not so blatantly, do we do the same thing?
We have been taught this holy habit since we were able to talk, but interestingly enough; it is possibly one of the hardest to live out. Scripture admonishes us to practice this holy habit, yet we often adhere to it in the same reticent, barely audible voice of a child. Though we know we should do it, it may not be acted upon in the deep recesses of our hearts.
What is it? Forgiveness.
You may be thinking, “Oh no, surely not another homily on forgiveness!” No, not a sermon, just a heart- to-heart talk—woman to woman—about what the other side of the coin—unforgiveness, looks like.
Years ago, I needed to forgive. Being an individual with reverence for holy habits, I knew this was something I must do. So, I prayed, “Okay, God, even though you already know how I feel, and I am not feeling very forgiving, I want you to know, I forgive.” One might think that was the end of it, but no. The wrong done that prompted my need to forgive still stood front and center.
During that time, I recall on many occasions driving down a road not thinking anything even remotely connected to this wrong, and ooooops, it would pop up. I liken it to busily working away on the computer when out of the blue, up pops an error message. That is how this felt. Out of the blue the offense kept popping up. I remember one morning, I even said, “Okay, God, I am going to switch the dial just like I would do on a radio. I am going to turn it off. I am NOT going to think about this anymore.” Of course God did not did not answer me with, “Good luck with that, ” but He well could have.
I recalled the many times had I read the scripture, If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins? (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV) How many sermons had I heard on forgiveness? How many times had I participate in small groups having this discussion? How many…? How many…? Okay, you get the point.
Yet, not until I made a heart-felt “active” decision to forgive each and every individual involved was my heart washed clean, and I was able to move forward to the new chapters the Lord had planned for my life.
A quote I once read is so true. You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one.
Make forgiveness a holy habit in your life. Be free today!