The worst odor I’ve ever smelled is a skunk. I’ve only smelled dead skunks. It’s an odor that overwhelms and lingers…and lingers. A few miles from our house is a stretch of highway where we have frequently encountered this disgusting smell.
One night I was driving home from the grocery store. Michael and I were talking, and if I had not been observant, I wouldn’t have even seen it. I was meeting another car on the highway, so light was shining on the other side of the road. Literally two feet from being on my side of the yellow line was a skunk…steadily walking.
I was just a few feet from a stinking mess. I have the feeling that the car I was meeting wasn’t as lucky as me.
Life is a lot like that. We are always just one mistake away from a stinking mess. God in His mercifulness always provides a way out before things get to the point of smelling up our lives, but too often we ignore His way out and dive in headfirst. And what about the lives of others? We don’t often think about what OUR sin does to the people we love. Even after we have moved on from the stench of sin, others are still reeling from the odor.
And just like the stench of a skunk lingers in the recesses of our brains long after we have moved past the skunk, the painfulness of someone else’s sin can linger in our minds. With a sudden reminder, we can be transported back to that moment of hurt. Once again, we feel the pain. Once again, we feel our anger is justified. Once again, we have thoughts of wanting the person who caused this pain to…hurt. Yes, I know…forgiveness is the key. We work through issues for days, weeks, and sometimes years to get to that moment of, “I forgive you.” Then the difficulty becomes not picking that stinking hurt back up again when we have those sudden memories come crashing into our brains.
I struggle with this! Something triggers a memory of how someone hurt me, and I immediately pick that hurt up and nurse it. I cuddle it, gaze at it, and hold on to it for far too long. Then I find myself right in the middle of the stench that held my brain captive for far too long.
How do we win? What is the key? Surely there is an answer!
Do you believe that Jesus gives us the answer? What will it take for us to believe and accept His word?
Forgive. Again. And again. I believe the first time we forgive someone for something, it’s for everyone involved. But when I choose to pick that hurt back up, forgiveness is for me. Don’t allow someone else’s sin hold your life captive. Move on! Forgive. Forgive as often as you have to forgive.
Because you have been forgiven.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a]who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!Matthew 18:21-22
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. – Mark 11:25