Compassionate forgiveness is different from “ordinary” forgiveness which is loaded with challenges. At least, that is what I am learning. This new lesson in my life is being launched on old, once very painful turf. Additionally, there seems to be direct correlations between this and spiritual freedom, which is still somewhat mysterious to me at this writing.
Many times in Scripture we read of God sending people into places they do not particularly want to go; Jonah is well known for that. Nineveh was not on his list of “desirable locations.” He was actually willing to be cast into the sea rather than landing in Nineveh.
While there is much to be gleaned from this “wrestling match” between God and Jonah, near the end of this book God grows a plant over night to shade Jonah and then uses a worm to remove it, also overnight. When Jonah and God converse about this, it seems God’s desire was to evoke compassion in Jonah. God speaks about how He felt over those in Nineveh who “didn’t know their left hand from their right hand, let alone all the animals!” Compassion is a major theme in scripture.
It has been easy to read and reread that portion (and other portions of scripture) and go about daily life without it making any significant impact. Today is different; however, for me anyway, due to being sent back both geographically and emotionally, to revisit an exceedingly painful past.
Like Jonah, my response was “no” also, for a little while, but internally, that was unsettling. How can I say I love my Lord and then refuse to trust and follow His leading? That seems treasonous or hypocritical at best.Consequently, repentance served to set things right in my heart.
Although, it required me to “empty myself of myself”- another concept that has always been a bit “aloof”…until this hour of my life. This is a season of “feeling- my- way- through” many “unknowns.” Here are a few more:
- Where will I stay?
- How will I explain this?
- How long are we talking about?
- How do I do this?
- Are you sure?
Only “why” was answered before I left Florida, and that sparsely and partially. That answer, He wants to heal my scars, for one thing.
Pondering further and more carefully over my past, another concept arose. “If one has been through great trauma and never healed from it, how much love is able to transmit through them?” While it is fitting to ask this of myself, it also applies to those who participated in delivering my childhood pain.
This question, more accurately, its obvious answer, gave me cause to press onward, daily. It took only about ten days to get things in order for “swimming” away from my busy world into this unknown territory.
God miraculously and strategically “landed” me, and within days began restoration processes. He gave me reinforcements; likely, many more than I realize. As days pass, and conversations are had from deeper heart felt places, things are improving between mother and daughter.
Ephesians 6:2 &3 popped into my heart and mind one day as we were on our way to her doctor’s appointment.” Of course”, I thought. “Thank you, Lord, for giving me this opportunity to honor my mother. You did not say, that they had to earn or deserve it,” simply “…honor…that it may go well with you”. Certainly, motivation is stirred by the last part of that verse.Walking in obedience, in this case, has afforded many opportunities for me to grow in understanding, learn who she is and adjust my perspective of things overall.
While growing up, our days were hurried, stressful and somewhat sporadic, rarely leaving time, energy or desire for quiet conversation. Now, there is both time (not sure how much of that is left) and desire to inquire and examine together. For this, I am truly grateful.
Knowing more of my mother’s life story has started to soften “rock like” places in my heart. It feels like, what I imagine “being washed with love” would feel like. She is changing, too. Much more careful of what she says and how she says it.
We are experiencing “greener pastures” where, accepting one another with grace and kindness offers new, actually, “first-time” freedom and opportunity for genuine bonding. Surely God wanted this all along. Certainly, there is much more work to be done, but things look hopeful.
Jesus went to great lengths to set us free. F.F. Bosworth says it beautifully in “The Opening of the Prison.” He explains multiple types of prison, and in each case, freedom is available and waiting for us to receive it. That precious payment of His perfect blood to satisfy Absolute Righteousness has been made and satisfied Father God’s legal requirement.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your powerful blood sacrifice!Thank you for setting us free!