The Forgiveness Challenge
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20
Why is forgiveness so hard to give? Did you notice the word g-i-v-e right in the middle of the it? ForGIVEness is so hard to give because it requires giving the very opposite of what we have received. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.” Really? But you don’t know what he did to become my enemy. “If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Let someone else care for him. He is not worth my time. “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Does this part appeal to you? Let’s explore what goes on inside the heart when forgiveness stands between us and true freedom.
Dr. Gary Rosberg, President & CEO of America’s Family Coaches explains there are three things that stand between forgiveness and freedom; Fear, Pride and a Hard Heart.
What does Fear have to do with forgiveness? I feel the need to avenge my enemies. We all do. I trust that God is fully aware of the situation, but my fear is he won’t avenge the way I want him to. I know His ways are higher than mine, but sometimes I’m not patient enough to wait on his ways and I take matters into my own hands. Can you relate?
How does Pride stand between freedom and forgiveness? What will people think if they see me giving kindness to my enemy? Will they see me as weak and naive? Or even worse, will they think I believe I deserved what what my enemy did to me?
Recurring pain builds up a calloused heart. The battering of multiple offenses builds up the walls of our hearts. And, sometimes a single offense replayed over again in our minds is enough to reinforce the defenses of the heart. A hard heart is unable to receive love, the very thing it needs. If we are going to be victorious in this life, we have to give away that natural defenses that keep us from living in the freedom that Christ intended, the freedom for which he gave his own life.
He took on the sin and shame of the world and carried them to the cross to defeat them forever. Fear, pride and a hard heart are tools of the enemy used to steal the life from you that God intended.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;” because you have all that you need in Christ and he has given you a heart for those who lack. “If he is thirsty, give him something to drink” from the deep well of living water from through you from the throne room of heaven. “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” which you no longer care about because you have GIVEn your full attention to God, He has forGIVEn you and empowered you to forGIVE others.
How could Fear, Pride and a Hard Heart stand between you and freedom today? What do you need to GIVE away?
In His Unfailing Love,