I’ve posted this before, but sometimes I need to remind myself of the details. When I originally wrote this, God gave me a new way of looking at forgiveness, which helped me and I think will help you too.
I was in a long line of traffic coming home the other day, when I had a guy pull out of the line behind me, go up to the front of the line and cut back in. I was furious and was telling him what I thought of him, though of course he couldn’t hear a word of it. Then all of a sudden I stopped and I asked myself, “Why are you so angry? God clearly tells us to forgive. But how do I wrap my mind around it here? How do I apply forgiveness in the middle of my road rage?”
I didn’t get it until the Lord told me to look up the word “forgive.” It’s made up of two words: “for” and “give.” We are to be for (in favor of) giving them to God. He can handle the people that we can’t. When we are in favor of giving the people who anger us over to God and the consequences of His Word, we get the negative influence of those people off of us. If we do not release them over to God, the negative thoughts and emotions stay attached to us. We need to completely release them to either God’s care or His vengeance.
I’ve often found myself thinking that a person isn’t going to change. Sometimes that’s right, but I still have to pray that the Lord sets up something where they have the opportunity to want to change. I know I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life and still do, but I’m able to change with God’s help and others can too.
What about when we feel we have a right to be angry at someone? We still need to forgive. We have to give those people over to God. He knows just what to do. He’ll either love them into changing or if they refuse, Romans 12:19 says: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord.” God’s vengeance is going to have a lot heftier effect than anything you or I could muster up.
We may say, “I can’t forgive what they did; I just can’t let it go.” But you CAN because you have “Christ in you” (Col 1:27). The forgiver is already a true part of the real you. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
Anger is a strong defense and can make us look and feel powerful. If we think we have to let it go, we may feel weak and vulnerable. But, in fact, it takes more guts to be a forgiver.
We have to be the stronger person to stand tall and say out loud, “I forgive; right now I give them to You, God. Lord, if they didn’t realize what they did, then I give them to You and I believe that You will get them to someone to teach them. If they did it on purpose, I still give them to You. Either way, I give them up, and I am free.”
We will start to see ourselves changing and see others changing around us too. Forgiving is empowering and it frees us up to receive from God. It is what any true believer does. Even on the roads, forgiveness can take the road rage away!
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