I've heard forgiveness described as all of these things and more.
I don't think I've ever heard even one person describe it as exciting, unless they are speaking of the fact that they are excited that God forgave their own sins.
But me? I'm totally, 100%, over-the-moon excited out of my mind about forgiveness!!!
I'm excited about receiving it from God, and giving it as well. I haven't always felt this way, by the way.
Forgiveness totally changed my life, especially in the last year.
This Friday will make one year since something happened to me that has been the hardest thing in my life, to forgive.
On the very day it happened, I knew I was going to forgive, because I'm a believer and I believe that's what real believers do. Sometimes it takes more, or less time, depending on the wound.
But on that day, February 28, 2013 -- all I thought was, "This is hard...difficult...excruciating...maybe even impossible."
Quite honestly, I needed professional help, to walk through the journey of forgiveness in that situation.
And, I received it.
I'm glad I pressed through (and am still pressing through) day by day to choose forgiveness.
I never saw any blessing on the other side of it, other than just knowing I did the right thing.
(And sometimes, knowing we obeyed God has to be blessing enough. My husband always says it's such a wonderful thing to be able to lay your head on the pillow at night and sleep peacefully!)
But I never imagined in my wildest dreams, what God would do!
What He has brought about in my life in the 12 months since that time is nothing short of amazing.
I have experienced the greatest blessings of my life in these past twelve months.
And they just keep on coming.
Although what I have prayed for regarding the circumstance a year ago has not resulted in receiving what I've prayed for, I have experienced so many other incredible things. And it has surprised me how quickly these blessings have come! Over and over again I have felt in my spirit that these blessings were tied to the choice to pursue forgiveness.
To be sure, it doesn't always happen so quickly. In fact, seldom has it been quick for me, which is why the past year has taken me by such surprise.
Most times, I find it takes more time. His timing in bringing blessings or justice is not always ours, and many times we find ourselves asking, "When God, when?"
I've learned sometimes the end result is material blessings, promotion, etc. and other times we receive things like favor or vindication.
For instance, a few years ago I made a conscious choice to forgive in a situation that had caused a number of significant changes and losses for my family, and our church. I surrendered the matter to God, and prayed through to forgiveness. Part of the difficulty for me was that it appeared that only my family saw the truth. It has taken a few years, but now everyone can see the truth. Sometimes the gift from God is vindication.
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
After what I've experienced throughout my life, and particularly the last year -- how can I not be excited about what God will do?
Yesterday I faced another opportunity to forgive.
It is not even a question that I'm going to go forward pursuing forgiveness.
Regarding forgiveness, I have heard many people say: "I don't want to extend forgiveness because the other person doesn't deserve it."
The truth is, forgiveness is not for them, it's for you. As my therapist once told me, "it's a gift to yourself."
Sometimes we prevent ourselves from receiving the greatest gifts God wants to give us!
I want all the gifts coming to me!!
Another thing I've noticed is that it often seems the greater the injustice, and the harder something is to forgive, the greater the blessing you receive for forgiving. Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis, who was thrown in a pit and left to die -- yet he became ruler over all, even those who betrayed him!
I find that we reap what we sow, and usually more than we sow...and not in all the same areas that we sow!
I'm giving myself a great gift today.
And making a choice to give myself that gift every day going forward.
I'm so excited about forgiveness!!!!!!!
I'm already so blessed, and I'm bracing for absolutely mind-blowing blessings, just ahead. God is about to out-do Himself, if it were possible.