Daily Devotional for July 28, 2022

Tuesday night, after a church meeting, people were visiting in Grobowsky Hall.  I walked up to one group as Gary was speaking.
I’ve always liked Gary.  He sings in our choir and has an incredible voice.  
Gary was explaining to the group that because the choir is directly behind me as I preach, they must always be aware the congregation is looking in their direction.  No one can drift off to sleep.
Gary knows a lot about sleep since he’s an anesthesiologist.  Then he began explaining to the group how he learned to sleep with his eyes open.
Suddenly I didn’t like Gary quite as much.
At that moment I began to think the forgiveness part of the Bible was overrated.
Unfortunately, because I am a follower of Christ, I must forgive Gary, even though I don’t want to.  There’s no other option.
While I’d like to hold a grudge for all eternity, get even, and somehow make sure Gary never sleeps again, that’s not going to work for the One who matters most.
The only response God will accept is my complete forgiveness.
Immediately after Jesus teaches the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he says, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  (Matthew 6:14-15)    
Maybe you have been rejected, physically or emotionally abused, ridiculed, betrayed, or hurt in some other way.  God wants you to forgive for your own sake.  By doing so, you no longer allow that person to dominate or have a hold over your life.  Forgiveness means that terrible moment is forced to stay in the past and is no longer part of your present or future.  
Let me take a moment to correct one terrible understanding of forgiveness I run into in counseling sessions. 
Often people believe true forgiveness means acting as if the terrible event never happened.  That’s wrong.
Just because a pedophile has been forgiven doesn’t mean you leave that person alone with vulnerable children to face the possibility of abuse.  That is misguided and insane.

God does not want the hurts of your past to limit your future and prevent you from fully becoming the person God created you to be.  Let them go and be free.
Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me forgive.  Free me from the injuries of my past.  Surround me with your love and peace.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
One more thing.  Forgiveness is a process.  You will have to forgive the same offense repeatedly.  Eventually, the act of forgiveness will allow you to let go.  Be patient.
I will probably have to go through the process of forgiving Gary for the rest of my life, but eventually I will get there.  Then I will be free of his hurtful comment.  That will be a good day.
Just for the record, because I’ve forgiven Gary, I only used his first name in the devotional.  That way, no one will know exactly who I am talking about.  So, if you know a Gary who sings in our choir, has a magnificent voice, and is an anesthesiologist – it may or may not be him.
That’ll fix his wagon.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins