"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
I stood on the small ladder with light bulb in hand. The weather was frigid, and changing an outdoor light was not what I wanted to do. But with darkness falling earlier it was necessary.
Something fluttered inside the lamp, which made me hesitant to reach in and unscrew the old bulb.
Peering in, I saw a bird at the bottom of the lamp with its wings pressed close to its side, and spindly legs twisted around the base of the lamp. How had this bird made its way into the lamp? How long had it struggled to be free?
For the next several moments I removed burned out light bulbs and debris, carefully trying to release the bird from its entanglement. As I tried to lift it to freedom with two fingers, it pecked furiously at my hand.
I wrapped my glove around it, and carried it to the front of my home where a birdbath filled with fresh water and a bird feeder awaited.
Upon setting the bird down, it hobbled and nearly fell over. But after some furious flapping, it launched itself into the air, made it to the birdbath and took a long drink. It then fluffed out its wings as if admiring them, and flew up to the bird feeder.
It looked like the little bird would be all right.
Sometimes unforgiveness can make us feel like this small bird. Something happened to us that shouldn't. A person said something hurtful or vengeful. Or an unfair situation caused us harm. Those events can make us feel angry or bitter, and those emotions make us feel trapped, affecting our marriages, our understanding of God, or our trust in others.
Scriptures like Colossians 3:13 may feel less a path to healing and more an affront. Forgiveness seems impossible. Especially when you are waiting for someone else to apologize, or change, or you just keep on with your heart guarded and closed off.
Why would God ask us to forgive? Perhaps God sees that we were made for something besides being hurt and trapped.
We were made to fly.
Forgiving allows God to remove the debris, carve a path to your heart, and gently lift you to freedom. Just as God sees the sparrow (Matthew 10:29), He sees you. He knows how hard it is; He knows that you've resisted forgiving others because it seems too hard.
You won't be on this journey alone. God waits with open hands. Today is the day to begin to forgive. He is prepared to set you on a new path where you can walk again, and one day to fluff your wings and fly.
Dear Jesus, forgiving has seemed impossible. But today I will hop into Your hand, no longer resisting where You desire to lead me. Instead, I'm opening my heart to forgiving the past so that I can fully live. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
The word forgive in Colossians 3:13 is founded on the Greek translated aphiemi, which means: (1) to send away; (2) to let it die; (3) to exchange it for something else; (4) to give up a debt; (5) to forgive.
One of the most powerful things within this definition is to exchange one thing for another. As you forgive you begin to exchange that which has kept your stuck for freedom. You exchange anger for renewed joy. You exchange bitterness for compassion. Where do you believe God desires to lead you as you embrace aphiemi forgiveness?
John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (NLT)
© 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105