As Pastor Jimmy began to preach I thought about the past to see if there is anyone I have yet to forgive…
Ehhhhh…… I think as he continues on to the next point. Don’t get me wrong. I always listen intently to Pastor Jimmy’s sermons, it’s just that I thought I had been doing a good job at attacking my baggage head on and allow God to heal me. Then he started talking about the crutch vs. the cross…
A crutch is something you (temporarily) use to support yourself while you heal. A cross…… A cross requires you to be open and exposed. Stretched. Ugh, my heart dropped. It was like God decided to tap me on the shoulder. Guys, I’m so guilty.
These past 2 weeks I’ve been in many situations I couldn’t really control. I’ve lost a lot of sleep pondering the different outcomes to situations and what I could do to prevent further damage, stress, or just unwanted consequences. Trying to pray it away… of course it didn’t work. God was trying to show me something. I may have forgiven those who hurt me, disappointed me, but my heart is still functioning from that traumatic state. Using my crutch of being an “introvert” and arms length relationships to support me. So I really don’t carry my cross- I hide in plain sight hoping to control the narrative. I observe people for weeks, months before allowing them in because I want to see if they are worth the risk and minimize the damage. As my coworkers try to get me to date, I’m secretly panicking on the inside because I am afraid of another heartbreak. It would just be too devastating… So I’m shy. Don’t look me in the eye, no conversations beyond pleasantries, not really operating as myself- not the light, just the shadow cast by it.
For a long time I hated my name. I felt like my sisters had wonderful meanings, mine was plain and something I didn’t want to be- clear. True definition: highly transparent, glass. I couldn’t see anything great about that, just the weaknesses. The moments I can’t hide what I feel, my perceived frailness of heart…common value, because everyone talks about the Diamond, never the Crystal right? But a clean glass shines the best light doesn’t it?
Often when we are hurt or disappointed, our answer is to harden our hearts. To build walls as think as a fortress- to strong to penetrate. We don’t realize that we are suffocating ourselves without an avenue for rescue… Who can hear our cries behind the wall? The fake smile and small talk? The remedy lies in the very thing we fear the most. Vulnerability- the risk of our heart bleeding. But that’s what it means to pick up our cross. It’s what Jesus did so that we would not be lost. Thankfully, we don’t have to do it on that grand of scale.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters…” ~ 1 John 3:16
Real forgiveness removes the poison from in you. It gives us the freedom to start new without the constraints of the pain from the past. Many of us only become halfway free because the second part truly requires bravery. The courage to open your heart again. To put yourself out there, make friends, find love… But not from the perspective of protection or fear. But of grace, mercy, and love. That’s the hard part and the key to true forgiveness.
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” ~ Proverbs 3:3-4
In our pursuit of happiness, let’s not just forgive others but free ourselves….Completely.
It’s only love that gets us through…