"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." [1]

I have a confession. There are people I need to forgive. How I got here is a surprise to me.

The other day I felt an overwhelming desire to love people better. I would say to myself and to God, "I just want to love people well.  I want to love people deeply." Working in church ministry, there are many things I want. Such as, a growing church, more miracles, lives changed, etc.  But all of that distilled down to one central theme, Love. What I did not expect, when I was whispering these quiet desires to God, was His loud response, which sounded like, "Lance, you need to forgive some people." And to be honest, even as I write, I don't want to forgive them.

Feeling angry feels powerful. Feeling angry feels justified. Feeling angry feels honest.

But if I want to grow in love, as the proverb says above, love prospers WHEN a fault is forgiven, I need to forgive. I was asking God to help me love people, but He decided to show me that love grows and prospers WHEN I forgive. I was asking for WHAT (more love) and God answered with a WHEN.

My WHEN did not involve forgiveness. It involved dwelling. I've been dwelling on the sin, the injustice, the violation. The result? Separation. Dwelling on the fault separates me from the ability to see my friend's true identity. Dwelling on the fault separates me from the Christlike capacity to love and forgive. Dwelling on the fault separates me from an opportunity to grow. Christ has the power to separate. Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist describes Jesus as the one ready to separate the chaff from the wheat. Christ has the power to separate, not from his love (Romans 8), but from the destructive and unhealthy chaff that is in my life. Dwelling on faults has the power to separate. Christ separates us unto health and prosperity. Dwelling on faults separates us unto isolation, death, loneliness, etc.

So today, I'm choosing to change my WHEN from "dwelling on faults" to "forgiving a fault" so that my love can prosper. God is answering my prayer. Not the way I expected or even wanted, but in His kindness, He knows what's best. The love I want can't prosper in the soil of unforgiveness.

So, what are you doing with your WHEN moment? What's prospering? Separation or Love?

May Christ lead you to the beautiful place of forgiving and cause your love to prosper beloved.

 

[1] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.  All right reserved.