Before leaving for South Africa my dad handed me a book by R.T Kendall called “Total Forgiveness” I was in no mood to read it so I dumped it at the bottom of my hand bag(it’s a rather large one) and promised myself not to give it a second glance. as Christians we have a friend, the Holy Spirit whose sole interest is to see us become more like Jesus. You see for a while now He has been on my case when it comes to forgiving certain individuals in my life and when my dad gave me the book a month ago, I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to deal with this topic on a deeper level but I was just not interested… for those who know the Holy Spirit, he can be rather persistent.
Yesterday R.T Kendall’s book was peaking out of my bag, some how it had found its way to the top of all the stuff that was in it. I reluctantly started reading it because…well I had nothing else to do. I started off reading the book with a self-righteous attitude of “I have no problem with unforgiveness but I know who I should recommend this book to.” a quarter way through it I was crying, by the time I was half way, I was heartbroken and repentant over the condition of my heart. All that I read I already know but yesterday it felt like it was all new, so I drank it all in, tentatively praying that Jesus would continue to show me all my areas of unforgiveness, bitterness and anger even if it hurt to be exposed in such a manner.
Some of what I learned from R.T Kendall:
Forgiveness is a choice. Its admitting that what has been done to you was wrong but choosing to let it go. Its putting what the bible says into practice “love keeps no record of wrong.” “ The ultimate proof of total forgiveness is when we sincerely petition the Father to let off the hook those who have hurt us – even if they have hurt those close to us.*” Total forgiveness is going the step further and actually praying a blessing over the people who have hurt us. Forgiveness means I give up the right to telling friends how certain people have wronged me and above all “it is the absence of bitterness.”
Bitterness goes hand in hand with unforgiveness. “a high level of bitterness is a virtual guarantee for having no peace of mind, but getting rid of it is an open invitation for the Holy Sprit to give you His peace, joy and knowledge of his will.”
There are so many more beautiful nuggets of truth I got from this book. it really exposed the bitterness, anger and self pity in my life that I thought I had dealt with but was actually still there. by no means do I feel I am done with this subject. forgiveness is a lifestyle its something I have to practise everyday, some days will be easier than others but at the end of the day I should remember, if I truly value my relationship with God and I want him to hear my prayers and bless me then I should forgive.
I hope that if you are struggling with forgiving someone you get the chance to read this book. Its not very long. if you don’t have a chance to get it, do a word study in your bible on the words “forgive” “bitter” and “judging others.”
Word of caution, you may not like what you find about yourself but trust me, Jesus can do a good job of cleaning out the crap in your heart if you choose to let Him!
*the words in italics are quotes from the book.