Being that September is known for Labor Day, I had a thought to prepare an excerpt exhorting laborers- but oh how my heart is heavy. As I lay here, in the late night hours, I am flooded with thoughts of forgiveness, His judgments, His grace and His mercy. 

The enemy wants us to withhold forgiveness from those that hurt us but that is not God’s will for us. When you hold on to hurt, hate and anger, it creates a seed of bitterness that is then planted in the deep recesses of your soul. Over time, that seed then turns into a deeply rooted tree that produces the fruit of wickedness, sin and pride. How can wickedness, sin and pride be produced from this? The previous emotions listed above have one thing in common. They are centered around self. What happened to me. What you did to me. That was unfair to me. See the reoccurrence of the word me? It puts you at the center of the situation and causes a chain of events that lead you into a self preserving mode. This then obscures every decision you make thereafter.

God calls us to be selfless. He wants us to prefer our brother over ourselves. He asks us to pray for those that treat us wrongfully. The second greatest commandment was to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Have you ever asked for forgiveness, in faith, believing? When Jesus was asked how we should pray, part of His response was  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Or forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. Am I saying that you should put yourself in harms way? Of course not, but when rain comes our way, we need to trust that God sees and holds the balances. He keeps track of what was done against us and how we responded. We are going to be held accountable as well! Vengeance is mine thus saith the Lord. You don’t need to get back at anyone. Love them, forgive them, pray for them that the Lord might have mercy and then leave them in the hands of the Righteous Judge. 

Stephen modeled this very thing in his last living moments. As the very people he desired to set free through the preaching of Jesus Christ, gathered round about him, gnashed their teeth and threw stones, Stephen looked toward the heavens and prayed Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

More than that, this was also the very thing our Lord Jesus Christ Modeled in His last living moments. 

I implore you today, ask the Lord to reveal any past hurts you might still be holding onto. Forgive them. Pray for them. Place it into the hands of God and let God transform your life. 

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