Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT.
Putting off grudges and putting on forgiveness gave me one of the most freeing experiences I have ever had. I pray that you will choose to put off the grudges that you are holding onto and put on that forgiveness that we all need.
When you have a grudge against someone, you have all the feelings described in that verse in Ephesians. You feel bitterness towards a person you have a grudge against. You feel rage or anger when you think about what they did that caused you to hold a grudge. I will guarantee you have harsh words and slander toward them, whether they hear it or not, your friend does or you repeat it over and over in your mind.
When I had a grudge, I held it against my sons father. He wasn’t in the picture while I was pregnant or for almost a year after. We didn’t even speak to one another after 1 month of finding out about the pregnancy. And I had the biggest grudge against him. I saw him with a girlfriend and other children and he seemed happy. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t try to be in my son’s life. I have to admit, I wasn’t the most pleasant person at that time either, I was not without fault for the situation we found ourselves in. But I had that grudge. It weighed me down. Holding that grudge against him wasn’t hurting him. It was hurting me. In the meantime, many things had happened in my life and I felt God calling me to be His. So I gave my life to the Lord. I received the forgiveness and grace that I oh so much needed. Then the nagging feeling came over me that I too needed to forgive. I needed to forgive him for not being there, for not trying, for being mean at times. And I needed to forgive myself for my part in causing this whole situation.
So, at the alter at church one Sunday, I put off all my bitterness for the things that’d happened. I put off all my anger and rage. I put off the harsh words and slander I’d thought and said to others about him. And I forgave him. And in that moment, I felt the biggest burden lifted off of me that I had ever felt. I did all that before I ever had spoken to him again. I didn’t know if he was sorry for his part in our situation. I didn’t know if he wanted to be around for my son. I didn’t know if he even cared if I forgave him or not. I didn’t do it for him. I did it for the glory of God. God had forgiven me for so much. And He calls me to forgive just as He forgave me. So I did.
God has been so glorified just by that one moment of surrendering to Him and obeying His Word. Since that very moment He has worked out a plan that I never would have imagined. Soon after, my son’s father called me up, yes he called me, before I got the chance to call him and let him know I’d forgiven him and was a new person, he called. God had been working on him. He stepped up and in my boys life. And then, we fell in love. I never would’ve dreamed it. God brought us together, we got married, we attend church together, raise our kids together, build up one another in Christ. I could go on and on about how that one moment of surrender to the Lord has changed my life forever.
You don’t know what lies ahead of you, but God does. You don’t know what might change in your life with just a moment of surrender, obedience, and glorifying God. Put off what you need to, put on that forgiveness and see how God moves in your life.
May you be blessed and encouraged.
Cindy Witt. 4Her Ministries Inc.
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