Which path would you rather take?
A smooth, cleared path that’s easy to maneuver? No need to watch where you’re going because there’s nothing to trip you up or slow you down. You easily observe the beauty around you because there’s no need to worry about where you’re stepping. Getting to your destination you’re going is much quicker because there’s nothing in your way.
Or, would you rather take a rocky, grown up path? This path, with prickly branches and spider webs grown across it, catch your shirt and stick to your face. The path, so rocky and uneven, causes you to watch every step so as not to twist an ankle or fall down. You can’t enjoy the scenery because you have to spend so much effort watching every step.
Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say! Yes, of course the smooth, cleared path is the way to go!
We’ve talked about how unity begins with you. We’ve discussed how love, humility, and belonging are vital to developing unity. We’ve talked about how unity is possible even when you disagree with someone.
Taking a step further though, Unity cannot exist without forgiveness.
Walking in unforgiveness is like walking on a prickly, spider webby, rocky path. Sure, you can travel that path but your journey will be much more difficult and will cost you way more time and energy.
When forgiveness happens, it clears the path and causes unity to grow!
What exactly what is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is not saying ‘it didn’t happen’ or ‘it’s ok’. A wrong has been done. Forgiveness is letting go of your right to be paid back. Consequences may still happen, or broken trust needs to be restored. But forgiveness means ‘you don’t owe me anymore.”
Why should I bother to forgive?
You’ve heard the saying ‘Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. Forgiveness really is freedom for your soul and spirit, but the bottom line is that Jesus expects us to forgive. To the extent that Christ forgave you, is the extent to which you should forgive others. Knowing that Christ has set us free from our sins and canceled that penalty of death, we have more than enough reason to forgive others. The reason we should forgive others as much as needed (like 70×7 times) is because God’s forgiveness for us is unlimited.
Easier said than done
I get it. There’s so much pain and hurt wrapped up in the wrong that’s been done. It feels like holding on to the grievance will make them see how wrong they were. It feels like holding forgiveness over their head will make them see the errors of their ways. It won’t. It just binds you up and keeps you from hearing God or being effective in your ministry.
It’s a two way street
Both extending forgiveness and receiving forgiveness are necessary to paving a path to unity.
Recently, at a women’s conference, a person asked me for forgiveness for a situation that happened a few years ago. And then during that same evening, God convicted me to ask for forgiveness from someone for my words and attitude a while back. Both were needed. Both showed me how unforgiveness keeps me from fellowship with God and unity from others.
Unity is not possible without forgiveness
Without forgiveness, the oneness and belonging needed for unity isn’t possible. Without forgiveness, relationships suffer and the peace and harmony that results from unity cannot develop. As we’ve discussed before, unity is the goal to building God’s Kingdom and to drawing everyone to Him.
With God, all things are possible
The exciting news is that with God ALL things are possible! Even forgiveness!!
Imagine that rocky path being cleared and the prickly branches and sticky spider webs swept away with forgiveness. Imagine growing in unity with the people around you as we’re all on this path together. Imagine God’s joy at His children dwelling together in unity as all debts have been cleared.
Do you need to experience this kind of forgiveness?
Please join me in the WoW Facebook group and we keep talking about this tough topic! No one ever said it would be easy, but it’s totally worth it! I hope you join us there!