Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to finally have this fabulously fierce heavy weight as a guest blogger for Who’s That Lady?
Nikkele Shelton set up shop in her own corner of the blogosphere at Nikkele’s Blog, where a beautiful blend of creativity, wit, intellect and faith reside. She is an educator and administrator in higher ed, an editor of Christian prose, and a published author.
The post we feature here is perfect for our mirror series, and I am honored she’s agreed to grace us with her God-given pen of power. Welcome Nikkele into your heart as we welcome her on the blog. I know you will enjoy, and don’t forget to comment.
To err is human. To forgive is divine. That statement sums up the essential elements in the process of forgiveness; the acknowledgment of a fallible humanity and the divine nature of overlooking that fallibility. While the concept is simple, it is far from simplistic as there are many things that get in the way of forgiveness. Our egos obstruct the facilitation of grace and mercy, hurt feelings demand justice, and the high road wants to sit low. No matter the reason for not wanting to dole it out, forgiveness is a requirement. Not only is it a requirement for us, but God even requires it of himself in order to keep us in good standing with him. So if it’s that important, why are we so resistant? Glad you asked.
Ego-That big little thing gets in the way every time. Our egos tell us that we should not be treated a certain way and under no circumstances should we let anyone get away with it. On the one hand it is very true that we deserve to be treated properly, but in every case is the maltreatment due to maliciousness? Is it due to a genuine, pointed attempt to hurt us? We have to examine every case and determine the motive, and many times we may find that the motives are usually immaturity, ignorance, deflection due to a personal struggle, etc. Oftentimes the crime against us is not about us but rather about the issues the offender has that would seep into anyone who comes in that person’s path. And to flip it, how many times have we done or said something that was not truly indicative of who we are yet expected others to understand our intentions?
Hurt feelings-Sometimes we are just sick and tired of being hurt, and big or small, we are no longer in the mood to let people get away with mistreating us. We want justice and we want it now, and sometimes the most immediate mode is to let the person know in our own special way that they are no longer on the inside. However, when we go through great—or not so great—lengths to let someone know they hurt us and that we will not forget it, we poison our own spirits and stifle our own gifts. Why? Because we are in violation of scripture that tells us to forgive. Second, in order to deliberately withhold grace we have to undergo a thought process that defies what the Bible says we must meditate upon. Evil thoughts against a person are not lovely, pure, or of good report, which are some of the things we are commanded to meditate upon (Philippians 4:8). We are also commanded to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), yet we sometimes exempt our thoughts against our brother or sister from this command. And remember those special gifts of the Holy Spirit we have? In many ways the Bible tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is what’s most important because that is how people know we belong to God. So imagine how perverted our gifts would be if we allow an offense to cause us to not exercise the fruit of the Holy Spirit and thus keep us on the outskirts of righteousness? A prophet turns into a soothsayer. A person with a healing gift enters the realm of sorcery. A pastor can become a witch operating with a Jezebel spirit. Don’t believe me? Live long enough. So you see, our holiness and our proper operations rely on things like forgiveness.
The High Road Made Low-I get it. I really do. We often get tired of always being the one to make things right, skip through the fields like nothing ever happened, and basically doing the right thing. It does become exhausting always trying to find the strength to give people a pass for how they’ve hurt us while they seemingly walk away unscathed. But know this—any person who is truly in the Lord cannot hurt someone and be okay with it. We don’t know who lost sleep because they hurt us. We don’t know who is embarrassed by how undelivered they were at one time and now that a moment of clarity has taken over, they do whatever it takes to make sure it never happens again. We don’t know what opportunities God may have withheld from someone because the way they treated us would embarrass him in a more public situation. We just don’t know. We must be satisfied that God’s justice is the best justice. The best possible justice is not punishment; it’s deliverance. The Bible tells us to be not weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). Forgiveness is well doing! Imagine if God got tired of well doing. Uh oh! Imagine if God grew weary and fainted for forgiving us every millisecond we commit sins of commission? I wouldn’t be typing this right now and you wouldn’t be able to read it. Why? Because we’d all be sipping some boiling hot tea with no milk, no lemon, and no lumps of sugar with the god of this world. We’d be complaining about how unfair God is for not acknowledging that people make mistakes, that they can change, and that He should not have been so swift to judge. But here is the caveat, folks; the mercy we want should be the mercy we give.
I think I have said enough, but I just ministered to my own self so I hope you were as well and that the Lord blesses you real good. And if this was a little long….FORGIVE ME!