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Forgiveness

Y’all missed it some Sundays ago.

I was quite the sight watching the Summit live stream.

We’re talking dehydration inducing level of crying.


When Pastor Ricky Harris steps up to speak, you listen.

You listen with intention because you know what you’re about to hear is

going to be brutally honest and difficult for your heart to absorb.

And it’s about to change everything.


I would love nothing more than for you to continue reading this blog post, but, please switch over and watch this sermon first.



Don’t forget to get a box of tissues and a glass of water.

Oh! And you’ll need paper and a pen.

_______________________________________________________________


Hey. Welcome back.


You feel refreshed? Pained? Guilty? I’ve got you, Friend. I felt every emotion.


Before we drill down on some of the takeaways from this sermon,

jot down something on that paper Ricky had you make your list.


He said,

“That if God had forgiven him, he was called to forgive others.”.


Write that down as a reminder.

That way when you look at your list, you’re reading that too.


Many key points were made during this sermon but let’s chat about two of them.


  1. “Reconciliation takes two; forgiveness takes one.”

  2. Seventy Times Seven. Matthew 18:22


Remember when Pastor Ricky said “Reconciliation takes two; forgiveness takes one.”?


This seems easy enough. You do not have to reconcile with someone in order to forgive them. There’s plenty of forgiveness that happens solo; the parties never speak, everyone moves along with their lives. Beautiful.

Fabulously tied up ending. Everybody loves those endings.


But…what if it isn’t that simple?

Like Pastor Ricky said,

“What do you do when you come face to face with the one that hurt you the most?”


What if you’ve checked all the boxes to avoid the face to face interaction?

  • You’ve taken the “appropriate” time to heal.

  • You’ve spent the time in therapy.

  • You’ve prayed the hours, weeks, or years.

  • You have all the emotional support from your people.


And yet the Lord is still nudging you that a

face to face interaction is the final piece to achieve closure?


The thought of this is incredibly painful and leaves you feeling vulnerable, right? Yeah, me too. Hence the puddle of tears and nausea while listening to this sermon. But the nausea and tears were because I felt His nudge this time. And, who am I to argue with God?


Once I picked myself up off the floor, trashed the scattered tissues, and reassured my husband that this was a good breakdown, I hit my knees and began my prayers begging for assistance.


“I hear You. I swear I’m going to do what You say this time. I’m ready. My ears and heart are open. Please help me prep for this forgiveness journey. Pastor Ricky said “Forgiveness is not hard; it’s impossible without God.” And it is. This is miserably impossible. So here I am. I know I can’t do this without You. I’m ready. Let’s do this.”


Side note: For those of you that think my prayers and the private prayers of professional Christians always sound polished and graceful, sorry to tell ya, you’re wrong. It’s a conversation. Because He’s our best friend. And who censors and polishes what they say to their best friend? So if your prayers sound more like a conversation and less like a speech, don’t stress about it.


You have that paper and pen you had earlier? Use it again.

Whether your forgiveness journey requires time with God

or time with God and the person that wronged you,

write down how you’re going to tackle this.

Start with those people Pastor Ricky had you write down and make a game plan,

listing out the details. You can’t move forward blindly.

Then let me know if I can help you achieve this forgiven stamp on your painful chapters.

You know I’m praying for you.


I’m not one to add disclaimers because that’s a filter.

And, if you can’t tell from my photography, I dislike filters. But...use your noggin, folks.

Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation by

creating a face to face interaction in the name of forgiveness,

if there doesn’t need to be one.

There’s some people you must forgive silently for your own protection.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

“We forgive because we’re Christians, and that’s what Christians do”,

but not everyone deserves to see your face when you do it.

_______________________________________________________________


Let’s move on to Matthew 18:22.


We all have people or situations in our lives where we feel taken advantage of.

It might be physically, emotionally, or mentally.

Someone is always taking more than they’re giving, right?


So how many times do we forgive someone?


In Matthew 18:22, Jesus says to forgive Seventy times Seven times.


That’s a lot of forgiveness.

That’s a lot of heartache for you.

And that requires a lot of your patience while you watch

someone navigate their inability to learn from a situation.

But, guess what? You do it anyways.


Pastor Ricky said

“There’s no magical number that you and I get to write someone off.

In fact, what number do you want God to write you off?”


Ouch. But he was right.

I haven’t disappointed anyone more than I’ve disappointed God.

I mean, come on, He gave us a step by step guideline on how to live.

He told us EXACTLY what is a sin and told us not to do it, yet we still do it.

And, He still forgives us. He still chooses us. He chooses us knowing that we’ll sin again.


The takeaway here is simple. If someone wrongs you, you forgive.

You forgive them because God forgives you, every time.


“To ask God to forgive me when I will not forgive others is

literally to burn the steps I have to get to Christ myself."


The boundaries you create after someone has wronged you, are yours to set and keep.

You don’t continue to touch a hot stove. You set up boundaries to protect your skin.

Just because you’ve forgiven someone does not require toleration of the continued behavior.


  1. Step one is forgiving.

  2. Step two is establishing the new rules.


That might look like reconciliation with newly formed guidelines. Or it might be removing yourself from the situation because you recognize some behavior will not change.


Just remember, your boundaries are YOURS.

They aren’t there to keep other people in check.

They are in place for YOUR protection.

So, set them and stick to them.

You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t stick to them.


Forgiveness is painful. Don’t allow anyone, or your mind, to tell you otherwise.

I’ve filled this post with quotes from this sermon but I’m going to leave you with one more,

“Forgiveness costs us something. Forgiveness is a sacrifice.”


It is a huge sacrifice. We have to give up a piece of ourselves.


But you can do it. Because God forgives us EVERY TIME if we repent.

He says we’re worthy and we’re loved even though we sin.


I’m here to pray for you through this.


All the love and all for Him,

Stephanie



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