A Thirty Day Devotional adapted from the NEW book: Identity: The Distinctiveness of You – Day 17
I am the head and not the tail. Deuteronomy 28:13
I am forgiven. I John 2:12
Regardless of what has happened to you in your past, those things do not define who you are today. Your pain-filled memories, your losses, rejections, embarrassments and shame are all a moment in time. They are moments that fill you with heartache, unforgiveness and bitterness or they have worked to create a better you. You have either embraced them as truth and told yourself your worth and value are determined by those things or you have embraced the experience of them, sought healing through them and grown tremendously by allowing them to grow you into a deeper, more forgiving, more grace-filled and more loving, genuine person.
You have been given one life to live on this earth and it’s up to you how you will live it. If you allow anyone else on earth to determine how you will live, then you have sold yourself to another. It is God who has given you life and breath, not anyone else.
Every day people are born and every day people die. You have been given a gift of life and it’s up to you what you make of it. You can live in history, the present or in constant hope of a better future; it’s up to you.
If you choose to live in history, then you most likely are choosing to live in unforgiveness. Unforgiveness gives birth to brokenness, being stuck in life, the loss of freedom, physical illnesses, depression, bitterness, anger, self-pity, self-torment and the like. Living in unforgiveness is an anguishing way to live life. It holds us in bondage to others. I believe it was author and speaker Joyce Meyer who said that to hold onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison in hopes that the one who you cannot forgive dies. It only hurts you. Unforgiveness is certain death to any sense of wholeness and identity.
Counselees would often say to me, “You have no idea what I have been through” and they were right. But you will not move forward if you stick with that excuse. You will be stuck forever in history. Listen, it is not about what we have been through; it’s about who He is in you for yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Does that mean we are in denial of our past? No, it does not. But if you are waiting for an apology from that person who hurt you, you might be waiting all of your life. That confession may never come. Those tears of sorrow for hurting you might never surface. Then what? If you keep waiting, placing your life on hold, you have become a captive of the person or persons who hurt you. You have empowered them to control your life and your emotions. You have made them more powerful than yourself and more powerful than God. You are allowing them to determine who you are and what you are.
Jesus is as concerned about your future as He is your past and the Holy Spirit desires to move you on. No one created by God was designed to live life looking backwards, constantly filtering everything that happens today through what happened to them yesterday.
Jesus said that we were to forgive as we have been forgiven. Have you ever needed forgiveness? How many persons have you hurt, have you damaged? Every one of us are in desperate need of forgiveness. We are commanded to live in forgiveness.
Question for reflection:
Are you in any way stuck in the past, bound to people who have hurt you?
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