Drop the Weight
Have you ever worn a weighted vest? Have you tried to do pull ups, push ups, or jog in one? If you have, then you know how hard it is. It’s heavy, it changes your breathing, you can even feel it in your bones. If you wear it long enough, you may get used to the weight but when you take it off, it feels like freedom. You feel lighter. You can move faster and you’re able to do more than you could while you were carrying the extra weight.
Some of us have been weighed down, carrying around things we were never meant to carry. You may have been carrying it for so long that you’ve gotten so used to it and don’t even know it’s there.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
– Hebrews 12:1
The weight we need to address in this season is the weight of unforgiveness. Think of your soul like a weighted vest. Maybe you can’t take the vest off, but you have the ability to add or subtract weight to it. You can control how much weight you will carry. We have allowed bitterness, betrayal, disappointment, hurt feelings, wounding, resentment and loss to weigh us down. Instead of releasing people with forgiveness, we pick them up and carry them around until we are living under the weight of so much that it begins to change us.
Are you holding on to a hurt you need to let go of? How do you drop the weight?
First, we recognize that forgiveness is learned.
So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.
We need to learn to love and treat people the way God loves and treats us. This is different than the old way of treating others the way you want to be treated. When we love like God loves, it’s not conditional. It’s not about us or how we’ve been treated or how the other person has acted. It’s showing other people the same love we receive from God.
None of us are born amazing parents, faithful friends, courageous leaders, inspiring teachers or wonderful spouses. Just as singers, athletes and doctors have to learn, practice and develop their skills and talent, the same goes for us. Whatever character, skill or qualities we have, we have learned them. Over time as we interact with others, we learn to love, care, teach, mentor and lead. We develop integrity, courage, grace and patience. In the same way, we have to learn to forgive.
Second, we remember that forgiveness is a choice.
You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
It might not feel like it, but you are choosing to hold onto that weight and carry the burden. Choosing to forgive is often hard because it can feel like you’re losing or letting the other person get away with it. It’s feels right to hold on to our hurt, so the people who hurt us will learn a lesson or to keep ourselves from experiencing that pain again. We think we can punish other people if we hold on and don’t forget. But in reality, they aren’t getting away with anything. We just end up punishing ourselves.
When we choose to forgive, we are giving up past experiences for future opportunities.
Last, forgiveness is a process.
Forsake the habit of criticizing and judging others, and you will not be criticized and judged in return. Don’t condemn others and you will not be condemned. Forgive over and over, and you will be forgiven over and over.
Practicing forgiveness in the best way to get better at it. Though it is hard to forget things that have happened to us, we can still choose to forgive people, people groups and situations. It is a process that will take time. You don’t have to forgive everyone and everything all at once but which burden can you put down today? Who can you forgive and release today so you can stop living under their weight?
Forgiveness should not be confused with trust. Forgiving someone does not mean that the relationship will go back to how it was. People can have our forgiveness yet still have to earn back our trust. The process of forgiveness leads to your recovery, not always to their reconciliation.
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