Last week we talked about the freedom of forgiveness. The key to forgiving others is to rely on God and His strength. Sometimes the hurt caused by others is more than we can bear. More often than not, we cannot forgive them in our own strength because the pain is too great. Proverbs 3:5 shows us to lean on God, not ourselves.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
I've learned the hard way that I may have the desire to do what I know is the right thing to do, but I am not strong enough to do it. Forgiveness is one of those things. I have been hurt countless times by the effects of alcoholism in my life. People have hurt me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When this happens, the hurt is so deep, it damages little pieces of my heart. Over time, the scars from the hurt caused me to walk away from the Christian faith. I allowed the actions of people to determine my belief in the power of the unseen.
I needed God all along. I just didn't realize it until He showed me through the death of my dad what I lacked as a result of the bitterness I harbored in my heart.
I couldn't understand why God would allow people to hurt me so terribly. I couldn't understand why, if God loved me, did He choose me to have an alcoholic father. I couldn't understand why I couldn't find happiness in marriage. Then, God revealed my darkened heart to me. He showed me how I had held onto anger for so long, that my heart had turned to concrete. God softened my heart through Dad's illness and death.
I slowly began to trust God instead of doubting Him. I learned through reading Scripture how I cannot always understand God's plan, but I can trust His love for me through all He does in my life. I now know, God's plan included my experience so I can share with others how fully relying on God has changed me. Relying on God has many layers, but here are just a few things to get you started.
Read the Bible daily - The Bible is God's love letter to us. It reveals God's character and shows us how much He loves us.
Talk with God - Prayer is our conversation with God. His desire is for us to talk to Him and share our lives with Him.
Hold His words in your heart - I have found memorizing Scripture helps me stay connected to my loving Father. By holding onto the words He has for us in the Bible, I can pray to Him, talk with Him and praise Him with Scripture.