This a confess-imony. The Bible says “confess your sins to one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:16), and, because we “conquer [the enemy] by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” (Revelation 12:11). This is both of those at once: it’s a confess-imony.
During the building of our townhome we were surprised that many statements and promises by our builder were not true or were greatly exaggerated. Many of our requests were simply ignored and forgotten. He has never acknowledged those things or taken responsibility for what didn’t work out. It’s been very frustrating. I felt disrespected and greatly offended. However, I knew I had to be patient and kind and always speak to him that way, and I expected the same in return.
The Holy Spirit gets all the credit for that because I often rehearsed what I was going to say but I never told him what I thought of him and his empty excuses and promises. I felt pretty good about myself. In fact I may have told some of you how good I was doing in that way. I treated him well and thought I was forgiving him 70 times 7.
But, I didn’t speak well of him. This is where I got into trouble because I routinely expressed these things to my wife and to other people. Those of you who heard those things, please forgive me. In an underhanded way I was trying to get even with him for the disrespect and frustration I experienced. I was angry. Treating him well was not forgiving him; I was only piling up offenses.
Then God reminded me, “if you don’t forgive your brother from your heart neither will I forgive you” (Matthew 18:35). Ouch! I finally heard God and repented of harboring and expressing these thoughts, and received God’s forgiveness. By God’s grace I’ve stopped holding onto or reporting negative things. I felt much better, until God said “Ah son, you’re not done. Remember I said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you’ (Luke 6:27). I want you to pray for him.” Ouch again. That was very hard, and it wasn’t supposed to be a prayer like, “God convict him of what he does so that he admits his wrongs and changes.” No,
God wanted me to pray for him! Because he is someone whom God loves and wants to bless.
At that moment, I couldn’t do it; my pride was in the way. It was too much to ask! I was the injured one, he was getting off scot free! But God had another idea! Later I was driving somewhere and was praying in the Spirit and feeling close to God. Then suddenly as I drove, the builder’s name appeared on a sign. No, it wasn’t actually him but close enough to remind me of him. At that moment, God gave me the grace to genuinely bless him.
Has this fellow changed? Not that I know of, but I have. I can now accept what is while trusting God for better, without dwelling on disappointments. This is not so much about acknowledging and repenting of my sin as it is about being intimately close to my Father God.
Although true forgiveness is essential, too often we make everything about obedience. God’s perspective is from His longing to remove the slightest separation between us. Yes, obedience happens, but most important—intimacy happens!