As a couple drove their trailer through dry Northern California, they felt a tire blow and heard the scrape of metal against pavement. The sparks ignited the 2018 Carr Fire—a wildfire that burned nearly 230,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and resulted in the deaths of several people.
When survivors heard how the couple were overcome with grief, they formed a Facebook page to show “grace and extend kindness . . . for the shame and despair” enveloping them. One woman wrote: “As someone that lost their home to this fire—I need you to know my family [doesn’t blame you], nor [do] any of the other families that lost homes. . . . Accidents happen. I really hope these kind messages ease your burden. We will all get through this together.”
Condemnation, our fear that we’ve done something unredeemable, can cannibalize the human soul. Thankfully, the Scriptures reveal that “if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts” (1 John 3:20). Whatever our hidden shame, God is greater than all of it. Jesus calls us to the healing act of repentance (if needed) or simply unmasks the shame consuming us. Then, encountering divine redemption, we “set our hearts at rest in his presence” (v. 19).
Whatever our regrets over things we wish we could undo, God draws us near. Jesus smiles at us and says, “Your heart is free.”
- Our Daily Bread for December 4, 2019
Forgiveness is a powerful thing when offered and accepted. What is often the hardest part is when we need to extend it to the worst people we know...such as ourselves.
To shoulder something in life is to take it up and carry it for however long is necessary. We often shoulder shame and regret when it's not for us to do so.
There have been many times in my life when it has come down to this. Forgiveness. My need to really believe that Jesus really forgave me.
Oh how our enemy loves to accuse. Night and day he accuses the brethren the Bible says. The beginning of Job he accuses even the Lord Jesus of things. He plants guilt in order to bind up people and keep them from being effective for Christ.
Then comes the hard part. Recognizing it for what it is and coming to Jesus to be freed.
Then there's those around you. People whom you have who may have wronged you an you have a list to show for it.
My dear reader, get rid of the list. Write it down, pray over it, shred it. You have given it to Jesus, finally, now let go of it.
How often were people forgiven and set free by Jesus in His earthly ministry?
Many a person is weighed down by sin. Whether or not they recognize that is a different story. Scripture says it's true.
Look again at 'shouldering' and 'weighed down'.
We are an obstinate people. We are indeed a stubborn lot. We also are quick to want justice on our terms, people be damned. We want what we think is right.
Why do you think that the key reason Jesus says not to judge is for? It's not that we shouldn't evaluate people and their interests and intentions. We are commanded not to cast our pearls before swine. You have to show wisdom in exercising judgement to evaluate the fruit of people's lives. However whenever it comes to whether or not a person deserves to live or die, that's in God's hands. That's not in ours. People may be the duly charged people for that purpose but not the rest of us. Scripture is clear that God sets up rulers and removes them. He says to pray for those in authority over us because God put them there. Why pray for them? Because they need God's wisdom in dealing with life or death situations.
The correct interpretation of the often misquoted Commandment is Thou shalt not murder, not Thou shalt not kill. God can hardly command people not to do what He has ordered them to do. To murder means to take an innocent life. To kill is to take a life in judgment. God judged the nation's and often sent His people or even His Angels to wipe them out.
Forgiveness is a release. It's freeing.
It's taking the burden off our shoulders. It keeps us from being weighed down.
But forgiveness is also a coin.
It's extremely expensive currency. It's companion side is forgetting.
Forgiveness only goes so far. You must do as Jesus and cast such things as far as the east is from the west. Remembering them no more. If you keep rehashing past sins of yourself and others you haven't really forgiven. You have to let go. Only then will you be free. Jesus forgave and set many free. Read the Gospels. It's in there. In context if not in actual wording it mentions forgiveness and being set free.
So start today. Start forgiving yourself. Forgive others. Don't think you have that problem? Ask the Spirit if you do. Jesus said He would guide you in all truth.
Let go of your wounds. Let Jesus heal you. So many are self-trapped in anger and hate and bitterness of their own choosing. They are wanting the burden to go away but they won't let go. Jesus asked a man who had been needing healed for over 30 years if that's what he wanted. Jesus already knew. He wanted the man to acknowledge his need from his own mouth.
Don't hold onto any form of bitterness. The only person you injure when you hold onto bitterness is you. Letting people live rent free in your mind only harms you.