Forgiveness On The Open Sea
Friends, it is so hard. We hurt each other. We really hurt each other. The enemy is no fool in regards to the way he splits our hearts in half, separates us from those we love, creates rifts, some lasting forever. The thing he carefully hides from us is how much darkness we invite into our heart when we choose to cling to that root of bitterness rather than letting it go and forgiving.
When someone hurts us, it feels very much like being thrown out onto an open sea with no lifeboat, no life jacket...just out there, alone. Our natural reaction is to seek out safety, something to stop us from drowning...
Ah! You see it there, a root peeking up just above the surface of the water. It isn't something living, but something dead. Still, it is solid, something to hold onto, so you swim towards it. You grab tight, and feel momentary relief. The sea is still moving around you, but at least you aren't drowning.
Or so you think.
How long can you cling to that dead branch, though? How long will your hands, your arms hold out? What about when you need to rest? How can you rest while still clinging to that dead branch, out on the open sea? This is bitterness, friends. It feels good for a minute, feels like a safe spot where we can keep ourselves from drowning....
but it is a false sense of security.
You are there, on the sea, no land in sight, and you are tired, thirsty...weak. Clinging to that dead branch becomes an exhausting task and what initially seemed like safety is now the thing keeping you from safety. How can you let go now? You are stuck...you think.
Is that a boat out there on the horizon?
Yes! A boat! That is what you need. It appears to be coming towards you, and you feel a mix of relief, and fear. You've been holding onto this little dead branch for so long that you don't even know if we will have the strength to swim to the side of that boat and climb in.
Maybe it would be best if you just stay right here, clinging to this dead root.
The boat is getting closer, though, and you can see now that someone is in it. Someone is steering it in your direction! Maybe you will be able to let go of that dead root after all, and whoever that is in the boat will give you a hand. You keep your grip on the dead root that has been sustaining you out on this open sea, but your eyes are glued to that boat. You watch it grow larger as it comes closer...
but then it stops.
The boat is there, you could swim to it, but your arms are so weak and tired from clinging to this dead root for so long. You can see that the person in the boat is a man, a fisherman. He looks out over the water and sees you there, clinging to that root. He smiles, waves, and then gestures that you are welcome to come to his boat. You have to swim to the boat, though. You aren't sure if you can do it. Your so weak, your arms are so sore...but you also know you can't cling to this dead root forever.
You will eventually drown if you stay here.
Something in you says to try. Just try letting go, try swimming towards the boat. You do it! You let go of that dead root, that no longer looks that safe in the shadow of this boat. You force those tired arms to do the work of swimming. It seems like the longest swim of your life and you really wonder if you will make it. Then you hear a splash and look up to see that man swimming towards you! He gets close enough you can see his face, and he smiles at you.
"I came to meet you half way and help you finish the swim."
"But, why didn't you come all the way to the dead root to get me?"
"You had to let go in order to swim, I was waiting for you to let go."
He helps you into the boat, and you lay there, so relieved to be out of that water...
"Rest, friend. I will steer the boat to shore. You rest, I can take it from here."
This is forgiveness friend. You cannot do it on your own. It is a spiritual act, a choice. Each of us must choose to let go of that bitter root, and swim towards the boat where Jesus is. He roams the open seas, looking for those in need of rescuing, and you know what?
If you are clinging to bitterness, you are in need of rescuing.
You are broken, wounded, hurting...and He is out there seeking you. I could tell you all day how you must forgive because Jesus forgave, bu that truth doesn't make the hurt stop, doesn't make the wounds go away.
What you need is healing.
I get it. It's hard to choose healing. It's hard to choose letting go of our grudges, our fortress of anger. It is so very hard....but when we do...
it is miraculous.
If you want to experience the miraculous, you can let go of that dead, bitter root. You can let go and swim towards that boat. Jesus is there, and he will see you coming his way, and he will meet you halfway. He will bring you safely to his boat, and you will finally find some rest.
He will steer the boat, keep you safe...and you can rest.
Forgive, friend. Release those who hurt you from the debt owed to you. Jesus covered all of it, and you can believe in his ability to heal even the deepest wound. Letting go is hard to do..
but it isn't until we let go that we discover the safety of the boat.