Have you ever had a moment when you’ve been so offended by a person or situation to the point that you’re unable to forgive? I’m talking about being so offended until you convince yourself that the person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven? Yes, I’ve been there. I felt as if I was so wronged by a person until forgiveness was not even an option for them, especially from me. In my mind, I wondered, “Why should I forgive them just so they can see how much of a ‘push-over’ I am, then mistreat me again?”
One day, while I was driving, I was reminded of something horrible that I had done years ago. As I reminisced on my wrong-doing, I started to feel bad all over again as if the situation was happening at that present moment. I felt so horrible that I noticed that I had started talking to myself saying “You just made a mistake and you have to move forward.” I had to remind myself that God has forgiven me for that, I had forgiven myself, and I wasn’t that person anymore. I began to feel better because I remembered that God had forgiven me and He wasn’t holding it against me.
All of a sudden, it hit me! As if someone slapped me in the face. I asked myself, “Who am I to rob someone of their grace?” I was holding a grudge because I had decided that someone didn’t deserve to be forgiven because their offense was so cruel to me. But yet, I was able to label my “short-coming” as a mistake! What if God hadn’t forgiven me? What if He said that my offenses were too bad and I didn’t deserve His forgiveness? At that moment, I found myself crying and saying “God start with me! I have been far from perfect and I still struggle at times. So, when I get beside myself and decide that someone else’s offense is greater than mine, God show me, me!”
I adopted the mindset, start with me. Before I pass judgment on anyone else’s situation, before I decide if someone else is worthy to be forgiven, before I put my mouth on a situation that does or does not concern me, Lord, start with me. Remind me that I still need grace. Remind me that You rescued me when I didn’t deserve it. Remind me that my past isn’t pretty. Remind me to start with me!
So, I encourage you to see yourself. Honestly, see yourself. The real You.
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”
Matthew 5:7 NKJV