Dear Shannon.

two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…

Dear 30-year-old Shannon,

I know that you have a hard time letting things go.  You always remember the offenses against you.  You justify it saying you have a great memory, where in reality you are harboring bitterness and pent up anger.  I know that many have wronged you, and you believe that they deserve to pay for the injustice heaped upon your life.  How dare they do these things to you?

You know that the Bible says we must forgive others as we have been forgiven.  Yet you can’t seem to live out that principle.  You can sit still as your mind starts racing about this friend, that family member, and the laundry list that goes with each one.  You have a critical, fault finding spirit and are quick to blame others.  You are PROUD.  You have a hard time fighting the spiritual battle in your head as the enemy seeps discontent into your thoughts.

You don’t know how to truly forgive.

Forgiveness means that you fully release the offender from his debt.  It means fully cleaning his record.  You need to quit being everyone’s jailor!  You have kept your loved ones in bondage for too long.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as god in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

As Christ forgave you. You were once dead in your transgressions and now, through His grace, you have been extended life in Him.  Because of God’s mercy, God has forgiven everything in me so that I can look more like Christ.  And I deserve nothing, yet I have been promised paradise.  So who am I to not extend that same grace to others around me, much less believers in Christ?

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.  Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, ‘Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’  We are offered forgiveness on no other terms.  To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.” – C.S. Lewis

Let go of the laundry list.  You want God’s mercy, so in turn you need to extend it to others.  Be freed from bondage of holding others captive in your thoughts.  Show a lost world how to truly love one another in Christ.  You are sending the wrong message to people who are watching you.

“Right relationships – especially within the family of God – are one of the most powerful means of communicating the gospel to a lost world.  Our God is a reconciling God, and when believers cannot get along with each other or fail to resolve conflicts biblically, we actually discredit the gospel.  When God’s people are reconciled to each other, we demonstrate the power of the gospel and make it believable.”  From Seeking Him by Nancy Leigh Demoss.

I know you didn’t realize you were discrediting the gospel by your actions, but now that you are extending grace to others as you have been given, you can now exhibit the gospel more accurately.  Jesus came to save out of love, not because he wanted to keep a checklist of everyone’s right and wrongs.

“If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” Psalm 130:3-4

The Lord doesn’t keep a record of my wrongs, so I shouldn’t keep a list of others.  So relax, let go, and take a deep breath.  Remember the grace that you have received daily, and you just might surprise someone, even yourself, at how easy it is to get over things.

Grace and peace,

Some call me ‘Shannon’, others ‘Shani’, and sometimes the occasional ‘babe’.  But the word I hear the most everyday is ‘Mommy’.  I have been married to one of the tallest men I know for 11 years and have been dappling in motherhood for the last 5 years.  We are currently chartering into the world of adoption and praying for God’s Will in expanding our family.  I am one of 12 Americans that have never been on Facebook, though I do update my blog on a random whim.  I love yoga, greek yogurt, 6:30am hugs from my son, date night with the hubby, and asking complete strangers how I can pray for them.  In the meantime, I am just trying to live life to the fullest for His Glory.