The Choice of the Resilient Heart

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Each of us at one point or another in our lives has been wounded. 

Forgotten. Rejected. Falsely Accused. Betrayed. 

Jesus experienced each of those scenarios. 

During these weeks leading up to Easter, I’ve been using 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole in my daily time with the Lord. At the same time, I’ve been reading through the gospel of John. I have been struck every morning by the kindness, mercy and tenderness of Jesus. Whether with the woman at the well, the paralyzed man, the blind man or the woman caught in adultery, Jesus continually offers mercy and grace. However, beyond His healings, there is one choice that Jesus makes that takes my breath away. 

Join me in John 13 at the last supper  (John 13:1-17).

I’ve taught this story hundreds of times and always focused on the servant leadership of Christ washing the disciples’ feet. While that’s true, I believe there’s more to this passage. As I was reading this story again this morning, Jesus didn’t wash the disciples’ feet when they first entered the upper room. Instead, He got up from dinner and then began to wash their feet. He knew that shortly Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him, and the others would abandon Him when the pressure mounted. Beyond modeling servant leadership, as Alicia Britt Chole brings out in her book, I think perhaps Jesus was offering and demonstrating forgiveness as He washed each of their feet. 

Then Jesus asked them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” (John 13:12). More than just modeling servant leadership, Jesus modeled a choice that -if embraced- will transform our lives. 

The choice of forgiving those who hurt us. 

Ah, it’s hard. I know. Yet, when we choose to follow Christ’s example and offer forgiveness, resiliency builds in our souls. When we hold on to bitterness, our souls rot. Forgiveness is the choice of the resilient heart. 

What does forgiveness look like in your life and mine? 

Choosing to agree and verbalize with God that you forgive. I can hear you musing in your heart, “But I don’t feel like forgiving.” The truth is you will never feel like forgiving.  Choose to verbalize your forgiveness to God and trust that your feelings will follow. Pray, “Lord Jesus, I don’t know how to forgive. But as I abide in You, I trust You to forgive through me. Flow through me, I pray with forgiveness and mercy. Bring my heart into perfect union with Yours. “

Act on Your Forgiveness. Follow Jesus’ example and demonstrate your forgiveness of the person who wronged you. Now a word of caution. If the person is toxic or abusive, this doesn’t mean you keep putting yourself in a place to be abused. It means you choose to do something to help you remember that you have forgiven. Maybe you write a declaration of forgiveness in your journal, or you send the person an anonymous gift card. Just something to help you remember that you have forgiven. You’ve moved on and you no longer have to allow the pain to torment you. 

Pray that the person who hurt you will be blessed. This is the final step in your freedom. As you pray that the other person is freed, your heart is healed and blessed and strengthened. After Job’s friends treated him horribly, God asked Job to pray for his friends. As Job did, his own heart was set free. (Job 42:10-17). When we choose by faith to pray blessing over those who hurt us, God restores our hearts and builds resiliency within us. 

Friend, the truth is, as long as you are alive, God will give you opportunities to forgive.
Part of our preparation for Easter is to ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal to us, where we are holding on to offense. Then agree with the Holy Spirit that you want to be like Jesus and you will forgive. 

If you haven’t already, this is a great time to pre-order Tethered Trust.  By pre-ordering you are able to gain access to the FREE ebook, Practical Practices To Strengthen Your Trust. Send me your receipt, and I’ll be sure you get the free ebook. 

This week on The Connected Mom Podcast we are talking with Dr. Laurel Shaler about the book she wrote with Dr. Gary Chapman called, Loving Your Adopted Children Well.  If you’ve adopted or you know someone who has, you don’t want to miss this episode!

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