This post is written by LeadHer Local Joplin Coordinator, Kim Bausinger. Connect with her chapter on Facebook.
How often when we talk about forgiveness do you have the mental picture of a king or queen, sitting on their thrown, passing out verdicts and grace? Since I was young (because I was never little) this is the image I see. I must admit I have always seen Jesus the same way. Not as a fierce king, but one full of sorrow at the things He must forgive. We have sorrow sometimes at what we must forgive also. After the anger fades, the sting of the hurt diminishes, and we are left with the sadness of something that is broken.
This month in our teaching, Holly and Christie shared how to deal with forgiving others. While I have been forgiving in my life, it’s not really something over which I struggle. Probably because God has blessed me with a terrible short-term memory. The teaching material was definitely not what I thought it was going to be about. My thoughts went down a much different path.
Return with me to the image of the king sitting on his thrown. Crown on his head, scepter in hand, and all the power. Now look at his feet at the one begging for mercy. Yep that’s right, that’s me. That’s were I thought we would be doing our work. This is a familiar place, because I’m the one asking FOR forgiveness.
A repentant heart seeks to make things right with her King. And oh, dear ones, how can my heart be so repentant one minute, and so defiant the next? I get it when Paul talks about doing what he doesn’t want to do. And how he doesn’t do what he should. Over and over I must fall at the feet of Jesus, and the people I do life with, begging for grace and forgiveness.
As a mom and granny, there have been many unrepentant sorry/not sorry moments in our home. Those “I’m only saying it cause I have to” apologies. (Insert all mothers nodding their heads here) But what forgiveness is in that? You throw an “I’m sorry” and walk on.
But what if you changed “I’m sorry” to “Will you forgive me”? The power of that plea changes control to the wronged party. It gives them the right to accept or refuse. It makes me vulnerable to their answer. And if I have wronged them and am repentant, that is a risk I must take.
I am blessed to say most of the times giving that control away leads to better resolution than I’m sorry alone has ever given. So next time you are in a heap of repentance, or just bit the head off your husband or kids, give it a try. Watch their faces as you ask for their forgiveness. You will be glad you did!