Tonight I want to encourage you to do something that may pose as extremely difficult, but will be beneficial to the next chapter in your life: Release your hostages. Release your hostages! What I’m really saying is you need to forgive and move on. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Who exactly am I holding hostage??” If we’re honest (I say we because I’m including myself) there are people we are still angry at for incidents that happened decades ago. Some of those people probably don’t even know they’ve offended or hurt you. Some people may be fully aware that they caused you pain and they’re just not remorseful. It’s time to release those people and move on.
There are a few other things being held up in your unforgiveness: Your peace, your joy, your ability to be a fully functioning person, your ability to trust, your ability to love; you’ve missed these things haven’t you? Some of you are one inaccurate accusation away from losing someone who genuinely loves and cares for you.
How do you you do this thing called forgive you ask? Well, you can start with letting go of all logic. Where there’s logic and intellect, there is no forgiveness. To pardon someone and treat them as if they never did anything wrong is something the human mind can’t fathom. We’re analytical beings. We recap and replay events verbally, reciting each offense to audiences of people who weren’t there when it happened can’t help to bring healing and don’t care in the first place.
My favorite line from the movie “The Help” is said by Viola Davis’ character Abeline: ” Ain’t you tired?” I pose that question to you tonight. Aren’t you tired of being so angry? Aren’t you tired of being so bitter? Aren’t you tired of the aches and pains as the result of stress.
Let me encourage you tonight. It’s ok to let go. Now I’m not making light of anything horrendously evil that has happened in your life. Releasing these things may take time and professional counseling. But if you’ve been hurt or offended and you survived the hurt or the offense, forgive and let go. Release your hostages.
This Sunday after hearing my Pastor’s message on forgiveness, I came home and told my husband that I didn’t want to be the reason why we didn’t receive the blessings God has in store for us. I didn’t want to be the cause for someone changing their mind after experiencing what was flowing out of my mouth from my heart: unforgiveness.
June is the halfway mark for the year. Who have you been holding hostage since last year, since January, since last week?
Pray this prayer with me: Dear Lord, I need your help. I have unforgiveness in my heart. I didn’t recognize it as unforgiveness because it manifests itself as pride, it manifests itself as anger and bitterness. I recognize now that there are some people that I’ve been holding hostage and some incidents I’ve been recapping. I don’t want to do this anymore. Forgive me for not forgiving as quickly as you’ve forgiven me. If there are relationships that can be salvaged, give me the courage to reach out and restore. I submit everything I’m holding onto at your feet. Help me to love the way you love. Break away all bitterness, malice and strife so that I can live an abundant life in You. In Jesus name I pray