Proverbs 17:1-15 – Forgiveness

Read Proverbs 17:1-15

Isn’t reading all of this wisdom good for the soul? Be sure to take time to really wrestle with each proverb. There are only a handful to reflect on each day. Again, I am torn for which one to focus on today. As a grandma, I do agree that grandchildren are our crowning glory. All the trials and tribulations that go with parenting seem to be rewarded when the grandchildren come along. And, the one that spoke of acquitting the guilty also spoke to the paralegal in me who prepared a number of cases for trial.

Verse 9 is the one I chose for today, and it says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Forgiveness is a powerful act. It releases us from bondage. Many times, we hold on to something that has happened to us, and it can make us bitter. We let it play over and over in our heads. Meanwhile, the other(s) involved are totally unaffected and may not even remember the event in the first place. Holding on to hurts is hurting us more than the person who hurts us, don’t you agree?

Forgiveness can be hard. When we have been wronged there is pain. We have a choice to let that pain define us or make us stronger. We show our strength when we are able to forgive the fault and restore the relationship. I had a friendship broken over a misunderstanding. Too many years went by, and I ached to restore that friendship. I had lost touch with that friend, and despite my desperate attempts to find her we were estranged for many years. I was afraid it might be too late. In my case, I was the one who needed to be forgiven. I can’t begin to describe the feeling when forgiveness finally came. Our friendship was restored and ready to be rebuilt.

In some cases, a mended relationship is not the best solution. When we were involved with the Celebrate Recovery ministry, there was a whole step devoted to making amends and working through forgiveness. We always told people, if their safety was in any way in jeopardy by approaching someone who needed to be forgiven, rather than a face-to-face meeting, write a letter instead. Whether or not the letter was sent was up to the individual. That also worked for people who had passed away before reconciliation could take place.

Walking around with a hurt so big can really stunt you from your own greatness. Walking away from a traumatic first marriage was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. As a broken mother of two, I had no idea how it was all going to work out. I just knew I needed to finally keep my kids safe. I bottled up all my anger, hurt, remorse, and damaged pride and went through the motions until I was able, years later, to forgive my ex for all of the hurt. I wrote him a letter which I did not send. I was cleansed. He was forgiven.

Who are you needing to reconcile with? Maybe it’s God? Maybe you have been putting on a good show but really your relationship with God isn’t what you’d like it to be. Maybe you need to ask for forgiveness and move on. Maybe it’s an old friend, a co-worker, a family member, a neighbor. If they have done something to hurt you, forgive them. Talk it out. If you need help with that, we have a prayer request option on this blog page. We’d be happy to pray for you and with you.

It’s time to let love prosper, isn’t it?

Let’s pray… Lord, you know my heart. You know how I wrestle with my own feelings of anger and disappointment over lost opportunities in my life. Help me to forgive myself and those who have stood in my way. Help me to be more loving. Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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