Janet Weaver Smith Â©2015 – gardenministries.org
How we process lifeâ€™s inevitable disappointments determines whether we are growing from them or shrinking. The bitter root of unforgiveness is sewn in the heart of a person who has processed their disappointments into a state of dis- or unbelief toward God.
Unforgiveness results in striving. Because we do not trust God’s forms of justice and His ability to work everything together for our good, we create our own â€œjustice planâ€ through judgments and vows. We say something like, “thus-and-so was wrongfully done and I will NEVER do that! This-or-that is what I will do to counter that injustice.” And then we go our way thinking we have settled the matter.
Rather than come to center and trust Godâ€™s justice, because we mistrust God and broken people, we swing all the way over to the other ditch and form a self-reliant â€œwho and what I am againstâ€ justice rather than a God-reliant, word-centered â€œwho I am forâ€ justice.
If we skip the first step of forgiveness, our judgment against perpetrators and subsequent vows to â€œnever do that ourselvesâ€ are founded on our own strength which literally sets us in motion toward doing the very thing we vowed not to do, but usually in a different way than was done to us so we deceive ourselves into thinking we are upholding our vows.
Until we are willing to humble ourselves and forgive, we will “excuse” our hypocrisy of doing the same thing, or worse, that we vowed not to do. And until we can admit to our own hypocrisy and failure to bring true justice, we will keep striving to fulfill our judgmental vows by attempting to prove that we are right in our conclusions. Eventually, proving our “rightness” becomes equally or more important than the actual getting of justice.
Tribulations either drive us toward God or away from Him. Hardship is how Jesus learned and modeled obedient love. To become an overcoming bride for Jesus, we are to follow Him through lifeâ€™s obstacle course in an ever-increasing, reliant trust.
God uses trouble and difficulties to create a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. It is the fiery trials that prove our faith as genuine and what creates real relationship with God and others. We are less harsh when we learn to forgive and remember how He has forgiven us.
If we are finding it difficult to forgive someone, we can simply ask the Lord to remind us of the times and areas where we currently need or have needed forgiveness or where we are justifying our own bad behavior toward someone. This levels the playing field pretty quickly and helps us better value Godâ€™s mercy. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Forgiveness protects us from the pain of becoming judgmental, vindictive, and hypocritical. Forgiveness kills bitter roots and gives us clear vision to see the truth of God that sets us free.
For more on â€œJudgments – Vows and Bitter Rootsâ€ see: