I’ve been reading a lot more during this time home alone. Mostly I have been reading about the way God can completely change who we are, if we are willing to open that door. I know he has changed my heart, my thinking, and my desires in many unexpected ways. I know God has forgiven me in ways people never have. I know I have found peace in that forgiveness and a greater willingness to offer that same mercy and grace to others. It all started with God moving in my life when I opened myself to his ways over my ways.
Change is not easy. The story of Jospeh and his brothers from Genesis (37-50) is just one example where we see hearts changed from jealous and devious actions of betrayal to humble honest acts of respect and kindness. The brothers came to realize that their treacherous actions toward Joseph had haunted them for years; however, once they acknowledged what they had done and sought forgiveness, their lives were physically and mentally redeemed. Only a loving God could do that. Only a loving God could put the pieces in play for restoration in this broken family. That some reconciliation is possible in our lives, if we humbly and honestly seek it.
Forgiveness isn’t always given by those we have hurt. Even when we are changed and realize the damage we have done, the injured person can’t let it go. Unfortunately, not all broken relationships can be mended and put back together. Resentment and anger can become ones companion and create a divide that only prayer can break through. And then, only if both parties are willing. In those cases, we must continue to ask God into the situation and leave the healing in his hands.
The only thing I have found to work in these conditions is to take it to Jesus. To confess my part in the brokenness. To ask God’s forgiveness. To ask the Holy Spirit to come into those places in me that need change. And then to accept God forgives me, God sees my heart and my true desire to not repeat those behaviors. Others may not believe that I can move forward and be different, but I trust in a higher power that can and does change me. When possible, I make amends to the person injured—even it the only amends possible is change in my life. When the other person chooses to hold onto anger and refuses reconciliation, I pray for them. Praying allows me to speak love into their lives and helps me not fall into my own resentment.
Transformation is powerful. We may not recognize it right away. That’s what happens when God forgives us and we turnaround our lives- he lifts those sins from our memories so that we can focus on who we are now. He doesn’t let us linger in the past. God is forward-looking. God already has his plan for us and the next best thing. He heals us not just for ourselves but for his work. He gives us new stories to share- good ones about love, forgiveness, transformation, and recovered lives.
Lord, I pray that where there are areas of anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, or grudges you would bring forgiveness. Father redeem and change those to amiability, contentment, goodwill, peace, and love. Restore broken relationships and bring renewal and harmony. Thank you father for forgiving my sins and changing my heart. Amen