“The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?'” (Obadiah 1:3)
In the book of Obadiah, the prophet is proclaiming judgment on the nation of Edom. This nation and God’s people of Israel have a history full of conflict starting at the birth of Jacob and Esau. For hundreds of years what began with deception on the part of Jacob continued with violence as Israel and Edom locked horns in an extended bout of sibling rivalry. If Edom had forgiven Israel and turned to the Lord, they would have found freedom rather than bondage to their bitterness.
While you may not be fighting with another nation, maybe you are harboring resentment towards a friend or even a family member who offended and wronged you. Now, like Esau, we may desire revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. Holding a grudge may make us feel empowered, but it does nothing but rob us of joy.
(Matthew 6:14-15) “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
When we step outside ourselves and forgive others as God has forgiven us, we find freedom from the trap of contempt. Forgiveness does not mean that we have to continue to allow the offenders to continue to slaughter us with continuous pain. In those cases we may need to establish boundries so we are not enabling their behaviour to cause our hearts to get hard and isolate ourselves with stone walls. Lift them up to your Father in heaven and pray for them (as hard as that may be), forgive them just as Jesus forgave us.
When we offer them forgiveness, it also opens the floodgates of God’s forgiveness in our own lives so that we may find rest for our souls and the perfect joy of the Lord.
“We need to practice active forgiveness, even the ones that perpetually hurt us. Lift those up and pray for them, even when it’s hard too.”
Heavenly Father, Thank You for forgiving me of my sins. Help me to forgive others as You have forgiven me. If I am holding any grudges or bitterness, show me so that I can practice active forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Scriptural Seeds Ministries