Fleeing, Pursuing, & Forgiving

Colossians 3:7-13 says, “You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

One of the bible studies I am a part of currently is the Good Morning Girls study over Colossians. This week’s verses are very eye opening and hard to turn away from. For me to fully understand verses 7-12, I need to define what I should flee from and what I should pursue.

{FLEE FROM}
* Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility
* Malicious Behavior: motivated by wrongful, vicious, or mischievous purposes
* Slander: words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another; an abusive attack on a person’s character or good name
* Dirty Language: slang or cuss words

{PURSUE}
* Tenderhearted: having a compassionate, kindly, or sensitive disposition
* Mercy: compassionate treatment of or attitude towards an offender, adversary, etc.
* Kindness: a kind, considerate, or helpful behavior
* Humility: the quality or condition of being humble
* Gentleness: considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender; not harsh or severe; mild and soft; docile
* Patience: tolerant and even-tempered perseverance; the capacity for trying situations

When I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I chose to leave Jessica behaviors behind and start striving to be like Him. This is definitely an everyday challenge! I am human! However, I have found that when I spend time in God’s word, then I am more apt to WANT to pursue His expectations! As the 26 year old woman that I am, I enjoy to post my #ootd (outfit of the day) and put some effort into my appearance most days. All God asks of me is to clothe myself, not in JCrew :), but put on the intrinsic traits that he expects of me. I have definitely messed up and shown anger and malice instead of kindness and humility…that doesn’t mean I am a lost cause, it merely means that I have potential! People have hurt me whether it was intentional or not, and I have lashed back out of anger and malice. I look back at these trials, some recent – some not, and hang my head in shame for acting on Jessica emotions instead of Christlike love. Since I have been in The Word consistently, I have noticed that I am not as easily angered, and tend to have more patience in situations I would have gotten worked up in before. I cannot control others and their perception of me… but I can control the present Jessica that will keep pursuing Christ and I pray that His expectations shine through my actions.

{FORGIVENESS}
Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation, or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake.

When it comes to forgiveness, it is a very challenging and convicting topic. God is straight forward in verse 13, but that doesn’t make it any easier. He continues to forgive me of my short comings, so why is it so difficult for me to forgive those I have been hurt by? I am aware that we all have faults, and none of us are perfect…but it never feels good to have hurt feelings. I have truly been working on my reactions to negative situations, but what I have not faced are the grudges I hold down deep inside of me after I feel I have been wronged. In order to let go of my strongholds and set the wordly Jessica free, I have to confront these issues deep down. If I keep a firm grip on past, I can never fully grasp the future. The Lord wants all of our attention focused on Him and how to bring others to know Him…not on negative issues that we refuse to deal with. The only person I end up hurting is myself… Just like Matthew West sings about in “Forgiveness.”

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
 
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1 Comment

  1. October 31, 2012 / 8:32 pm

    Jessica,

    I love this post! I have been struggling with forgiveness for almost five years now. I didn’t even realize that I was being held captive until recently when I finally forgave those who had hurt me. It is such a wonderful and freeing feeling to have. Forgiveness isn’t easy but it is so rewarding!

    P.S. Thank you for reminding me what I need to pursue and what I need to flee from. The Good Morning Girls study sounds amazing 🙂

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