In the last post we considered the onion and how it relates to forgiveness. The onion reminds us that forgiving can be intense, and is rarely a one-time final event, even over a single issue. Layer by layer we heal, and layer by layer we forgive.
We learned that when we are hit again with hurt, sadness, or anger over a forgiven issue, it is primarily an indication that deeper healing is needed from Jesus himself. With it comes yet another opportunity to forgive. It is at that point we have a choice: to allow another layer to be peeled off, or to put back on another layer.
Several key verses (Matt. 6:12, 14; 18:21, 35) use the word “forgive.” The Greek word is aphiemi, which means “to send away.” Furthermore in these verses it means “to let go, give up a debt, by not demanding it.” The prefix, apo, is described as “any kind of separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed.”
Our analogy of the onion fits in perfectly here: by forgiving we give up the debt the wrongful person owes us and choose to no longer demand it from them. Instead, turning to Jesus to heal and restore us. “I [the Lord] will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” Joel 2:25. In doing so we peel off, separate if you will, another layer, destroying the union between us and the wrongdoer.
But what happens if we don’t choose forgiveness?
A root of bitterness is conceived.
And if that root is left unattended?
“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
Allowing bitterness to take root undoes the work of the Lord, and therefore puts layers back on, weighting us down once again. When bitterness gives birth, Webster’s dictionary describes it as sharp, unpleasant, disagreeable, and harsh.
I was once all of those things! And boy did it cause trouble!! Not everyone knew, as it was mostly in my home, in key relationships, and in my very own heart. Being weighted down with many layers of unforgiveness and bitterness is misery.
If this is you, I urge you to take courage, invite Jesus back in to heal and to help you peel off those weighty and undesirable layers.
“A real step of courage and will. We must forgive those who hurt us. The reason is simple: Bitterness and unforgiveness set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that hold us captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15). We have to let it all go.
’Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’” (Col. 3:13)(Captivating, pp. 103-104)
In lieu of some of the comments below, click to read, Forgiveness: It's Not What You May Think
Courage and Will
Who's Vengeance is it Anyway?
Layer by Layer
Bold Love: Offering Love in the Most Impossible Places
Kill 'em With...Kindness?