My pastor, Pete Hise says this all the time. I'm not sure if it's his quote or came from somewhere else, but it doesn't really matter. Every time I hear it I feel a well spring of joy in my heart!
This weekend's message, from the series, "30 Days to Live" was on forgiveness. But the amazing "God thing" was that even before he even mentioned forgiveness in his message, because of someone else's testimony, I had a breakthrough, and forgave someone who hurt me deeply, and I had been angry with for a long time. You see, at our church, when you are ready, you are encouraged to share your testimony, your past before Jesus, as ugly as it may be. Not only for your own freedom (Rev 12:11), but so that others will see your example and be spurred on to perhaps follow. And I did.
One young lady stood on the stage and testified that while it took a long time, she was able to forgive the man who raped her and dodged any sort of jail time over it. Now she prays for him to be saved and has real love and compassion for him in her heart. She even purchased a seat for this man in our church's auditorium and wrote his name under the carpet where the seat is located. Is that just not the most beautiful picture you've ever seen? Does this mean she excuses what he did? No way! But it means that she is now free from the bitterness, the hate, the rage and all the things the enemy would have used to to destroy her own heart. She can look at him with love, the way Christ looks at us.
Another man and his wife stood up as well. And for the first time in public, he shared about his infidelity and how his wife, seeing his brokenness, immediately forgave him. Was the road hard? Yes! Were there wounds and scars? Yes! Were there trust issues? Yes. There still are. But her testimony was that Jesus gave her the capacity to love him (even though he hurt her deeply) and forgive him.
I know I have been forgiven much as well. So, when I thought of the person who hurt me, I saw them completely differently after those testimonies. How could I, whom Christ has forgiven, withhold forgiveness from someone else? I cannot. And I don't anymore. This person (in my heart) is absolved and set free. And I now see them the way Christ sees them...with love.
And the cool thing is...now? I'm the one who feels so free.
God is so good.