Last week, one of my aunts passed away. I spent the latter part of the week surrounded by family. That is a good thing. However, there is one family member that always leaves me a little anxious to be around. You see, this person hurt me when I was a young child. I am past this hurt, rarely share this hurt, have tried to forget this hurt, but have never forgiven the person who hurt me. I didn't think God would care if I didn't forgive this one person, after all, I rarely saw this person.
At one point during the week, I was hugging and offering my sympathy to several people. As I went from one person to the next, I quickly realized I was face to face with the one who hurt me. I immediately knew I had a choice. I could just walk away, or I could pretend like everything was fine and hug this person also.
God had a bigger decision for me however. He spoke to my heart and told me that I could forgive this person, or live with the unforgiveness for the rest of my life. This was my moment of truth. I could chose to forgive, just like God has forgiven me, or I could walk away and continue to carry this burden. I chose to forgive and to hug.
I walked away from that moment overwhelmed with relief and freedom. I had held myself prisoner for years, and hadn't even realized it. It is not for me to decide who is worthy of my forgiveness. Jesus died that we may all be forgiven and set free.
In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part. Matthew 6:14-15 (The Message)