We passed this sign on the way home from New Mexico last week. One word. Big bold letters that seemed to shout to all who passed by, waking them up from the lull of the long highway.
It seemed oddly out-of-place on this barren, deserted Texas road literally in the middle of nowhere. “So strange, why put that sign out here? Who’s even really going to see it?” I said to my husband. “Why not in a more strategic, populated area with lots of people around? Wouldn’t it have more of an impact there?”
Then it dawned on me, how “strategic” it really was. How very fitting that this reminder to forgive was placed on top of dry, barren soil out in the middle of nowhere. Isn’t it the exact picture of what happens to the heart that refuses to forgive?
Dry, bitter, barren – an isolated wasteland.
Wow. There it was right before our eyes, a warning to all who passed by. The boldness of the word seemed to plead with all who saw it – to be set free from the trap – the trap of unforgiveness. Can we really continue to live allowing unforgiveness to pervade our hearts, our lives, in this reckless way? Can we ignore it? Can we insist on our “rights?” Can we remind the world how much we were hurt and still search desperately for health and healing somewhere? It seems that “we” become the ones who suffer as we harbor unforgiveness and bitterness deep within our soul, as we nurse our grudges, and hold onto the pain with clenched fists, unwilling to let go. How long can we carry this desolation, this wilderness, within us? Will it not destroy our very lives, unless we become willing to let go – to take the first step – to invite “life” back into our innermost being – to begin to forgive?
“But you don’t understand what I’ve been through,” you may say, “you don’t know the wrongs I’ve suffered.”
But He does.
And He has carried each hurt for you, the One who also faced much pain and betrayal. He longs to bring you healing, He waits for you to begin to make the choice to let it go…one step at a time…one layer at a time. To choose to move forward. To breathe again. To find life again – full, vibrant, joyful life. To be able to laugh again. To be set free.
If we’ve lived long enough, chances are that all of us have felt the pain of betrayal and hurt. And as tough as it is to walk out, even though forgiveness may never “feel” right, it will always “be” right. Choosing to forgive doesn’t mean that the wrong never happened, it just means you won’t allow it to control your life anymore. The truth is this: people fail, God does not. Never allow a person to stand in your way of pursuing after God and the freedom that He offers. Don’t let a bitter root grow into a vast barren wasteland. You have so much to offer in this life. For this New Year, CHOOSE to live differently.
let it go…open the clenched hand…allow Him to bring life back to a dry spirit and hardened heart…believe the truth that forgiveness is a choice…and a process…take the first step…move forward…be free.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19