One of my memories as a young girl is learning about the “Saints”. Before you sit back and think, well that’s nice and wholesome, I want to explain a little. The Saints I grew up watching and learning about were the New Orleans Saints. Growing up in Louisiana, many of my family members gathered around the TV on Sunday to watch the Saints play football. There was lots of yelling and screaming, jumping and clapping, coupled with some minor frustrations when they didn’t play well, which happened to be often when I was growing up.
These Sunday afternoons coupled with playing football with my brother and his friends, I learned the language of football. I learned about offense and defense, scoring and blocking. I learned running plays and passing plays. You may ask yourself what does this have to do with a “faith blog?”
Ever consider your struggle with forgiveness in the form of a football game?
Humor me as I explain a little. On the field, you have forgiveness on the offensive side, while anger, resentment and bitterness are on the defensive side. As forgiveness catches the ball and runs down the sideline, anger tries to knock him over, causing him to stumble. Then from out of nowhere, bitterness and resentment come from different angles, diving in for the tackle. At first glance, forgiveness appears to be tackled among the pile of anger, bitterness and resentment and then out of the entanglement, forgiveness emerges. It is as if he gained strength from another source and he gracefully escapes the pile, running towards the ultimate touchdown of glory and peace.
Quite a game! When forgiveness is on the offensive side in the football game, glory and peace will always emerge and will always score. This is a promise from our Heavenly Father as He proved this very thing when His only son, Jesus, died for us so that we may be forgiven. He also promises to give us the strength we need to emerge from the bottom of the pile to score the touchdown.
So, I ask myself when have I struggled with forgiveness and I ask you, have you battled with forgiving someone? Although you know it’s the right thing to do, you want to hang on to the anger or hurt within you. You may even feel justified to not forgive. Forgiveness is hard, especially when we are on the receiving end of the hurt and the other person continues to go for the tackle. There is nothing worst than the bondage of unforgiveness. Our hearts are unable to be free when we cannot forgive. If we suffer from hurt or brokenness, we are unable to heal and move forward if we cannot forgive. This keeps us shackled to the past, the brokenness, the pain, the anger, the bitterness and resentment. None of these are lifegiving for our physical and spiritual needs. What holds us back from seeking forgiveness if we seek a joy filled life?
Are you ready to be on the offensive side or the defensive side? Do you want to be bound by anger, resentment and bitterness in the pile up on the football field or do you want to emerge glorious and peacefully through the triumphant offensive moves of forgiveness?
Dear friends, forgiveness is an awesome gift that each of us has been given. No matter how difficult it may seem and how justified you feel to not forgive, take a leap towards the goal and place your bet on forgiving others.