One particularly difficult day, God brought me across one of my old journal entries that I found to be very encouraging. I thought it might encourage some of you as well:
Why is forgiveness so hard every time? And how is it that i seem so frequently to find myself in the position of needing to forgive someone? And since I've let so many things go in the past, I would think forgiveness ought to start getting easier. But it doesn't. It's really super hard, every time.
I'm sure it's because I'm battling my flesh. My old self is still just as cranky as ever, so I'm sure it's not going to come to a new battle and say, "Oh. This time I gladly surrender." My flesh never wants that, and it will always fight against me.
Therefore, the only place to go is to the cross of Jesus Christ. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I can hear Your voice, Abba, saying, "Lay down your burden. I will carry you, my daughter."
Indeed, there is a part of me, the spirit part, that desperately wants to lay my burden down. But there's another part of me, the flesh part, that is full of fear.
Abba, in this situation, there is much to forgive. Ordinarily, I have held onto this type of pain for long periods of time. But in this case, I would like to lay it down. The task, for me, is insurmountable. But I would like all of this situation's control over me to end.
So, Abba, I need You. I need Your power and strength. I need You to put forgiveness in my heart where there is none. I need You to heal me. I need You to do this for me because I can't do it without You. I know You will sustain me and bless me and comfort and protect me. I know I am in the palm of Your hand.
Abba, I surrender.
I spoke in that journal entry about fear as an obstacle to forgiveness, but this current situation has taught me another obstacle I clung to. Arrogance. I placed myself above those who wronged me and judged them. I thought that because I was above reproach and didn't fight back, somehow I was better than they are.
But there is none righteous, no not one. We are all in desperate need of God's grace. It is imperative that I extend to my flawed fellow man the grace Almighty God extends to flawed me.
Extending that grace, and extending forgiveness by the power that raise Christ from the dead, sets me free.