Forgiveness in the midst of Adversity
by: Kim dana Garcia©
I guess in many ways we have all been treated unjustly at some point in our lives. There's more times than I care to remember when I have felt unjustly accused of something, or unjustly abandoned. But, it is how we choose to cope with the unjust acts released upon us that makes the difference between living a happy and rewarding life, one filled with love and compassion, or a life filled with resentment, hate and un-forgiveness. I'm an overcomer! I proclaim that I am an overcomer only by the grace of God through Christ Jesus. This is not by my own strength I proclaim my victory, but by the strength of my heavenly Father. "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me." Phil. 4:13. And for this, I am grateful and thankful that I am now, for the first time in forty-four years capable of living free of guilt and the shackles of un-forgiveness.
I made a choice to forgive those who have wrongly accused me, and unjustly abandoned me for the sake of reconciliation in order to live according to my Father's will. I went for years without taking communion because I knew in my heart I still held resentment and un-forgiveness towards those who hurt me. Being raised in the church, by the loving hand of my dear grandmother, God bless her soul, I knew the Word of God well enough to comprehend the sacred act of communion. "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For we judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."
In laymen's terms Jesus was basically telling us, (me); "In order to partake of my body and drink of my blood in which I sacrificed for you by dying a sinner's death on the cross by the hands of unjustly accusers in order for me to have everlasting life.....I would have to forgive those who've sinned against me. And if I took of His precious sacrament with an unforgiving heart, I was setting myself up for condemnation." Jesus said; "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."Luke 6:37. This was head knowledge for me, as I had been taught this all of my life. But I needed the revelation of heart knowledge before these words became Truth.
I grew up learning the Beatitudes;
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt. 6:14,15.
These beatitudes I realize now are truly for our own self development, as we are the ones who will gain or suffer from either a heart of stone, or one of purity and forgiveness. It took me years to truly grasp this precept, a very hard lesson for me to learn, the lesson of forgiveness. But once I GOT IT, I began to heal. A complete healing of mind, body, and spirit. Letting go of past hurts and resentments are key to a total healing. And I had been dealt a sufficient dose of sickness and disease to last a lifetime, but by the power of God's Word, I am finally set free!!
Now I commune with God, guilt free, as I know that my sins have been forgiven and "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4.
In laymen's terms, as we all know the story of the crucifixion of Christ; but do we really comprehend the magnitude of God's love for His children. Do we really grasp what kind of God would send His only begotten Son to die a cruel and merciless death by the nailing of hands and feet onto a cross.....the torturous death saved only for thieves and murderers? This is a God who loves us with such unfathomable love, a love that only He could obtain. Knowing that sinful man can not live in the sight of Almighty God, as He is a consuming fire, and for this reason He made a way for our redemption by sending to earth His only begotten Son, who bear no sin, to die for all in our place, so that we may have everlasting life. Jesus was our ultimate sacrifice. "And as it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgement; So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 10: 27,28.
Christ's body on the cross was the supreme sacrifice, and offering for man's sin. No one took HIs life from Him, He laid it down willingly. When Christ came to the earth He told God, "Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me (to offer); In burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no delight." (Hebrews 10:5,6); "For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy. " FOREVER!! (Hebrews 10:14).
The most unselfish act of pure love is to lay down ones life for another. This is what Jesus did for all of us. What an amazing demonstration of unconditional love, but also of true forgiveness. As Jesus was dying on the cross, the soldiers mocked him and fed him vinegar to drink, the sinner on his left condemned him, and the people laughed and ridiculed him, but His words were never condemning or vengeful, but the words of one with the most forgiving and loving heart. A heart not of this earth, but of God. As He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." As Jesus took His last breath, He was asking forgiveness for the ones who hurt him. He was, and still is our only advocate, our© mediator between us and God the Father. It is this message of Salvation that penetrated the depths of my soul when faced with the decision to forgive those who had hurt me the most. I toiled for weeks over the decision as the memories were still as fresh as an open wound, but God's amazing grace, and unconditional love for me, a sinner in need of forgiveness herself, finally made the choice. I knew that there was only one way to obtain complete healing and that was by reconciliation. Un-forgiveness is never the answer as we are always the ones who suffer the most. I've made my peace with God and man. And now I can truly say that I have experienced for the first time in my life the awesome peace that surpasses all understanding.