You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3 ESV
One of our greatest longing in life is the desire to be in relationship. We long to have deep and intimate relationships but struggle with it. We find that in an effort to protect and self-preserve we build walls around our hearts that are nearly impenetrable. These walls are so familiar that they feel a part of us, a part of our character. These walls clutter our thoughts, our hearts and our actions.
There was a time in my life where I was living with anger. I felt justified in my emotions and did not talk to my dad for over 5 years. I was very angry because I felt he put his desires over the interest of his family. I went on with my life, going to school and working. I felt that I was able to compartmentalize these emotions and live a normal life. It is now, looking back that I see how destructive these emotions were to my own happiness and my relationship with others. For many years, I looked at everyone through the lenses in which I saw my relationship with my dad. I saw people as self-seeking and self-motivated. I assumed that everyone had his or her own interest at heart. These walls prevented me from cultivating any healthy friendships.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Imagine with me for a moment. The creator of the universe peering into the depths of our souls and seeing the deepest and darkest shame that we possess. Now imagine that He takes all of that shame and pain, bottles it up and tosses it into the vast deepness of the ocean – never to be seen or remembered again. He does this, not because of anything we did, but because of who He is. He is peace and He is grace. He did this for me many years ago and it began the process of breaking down walls and removing clutter in my heart. I began to experience true peace and joy. It allowed me to forgive my dad (even when he didn’t ask for forgiveness).
Jesus is capable of doing the same for you. It is time to look within and find those hurt and broken pieces of our heart. It is time to release the pieces we hold on to; to break down these walls and remove the clutter from our thoughts and our hearts. Many of us caused some type of pain to another, intentionally or not. It was not until I saw my own imperfections and how the love of Jesus forgave me in spite of myself that I was able to see that I can forgive.
When our eyes are open to the love and forgiveness that is found in Jesus we are capable of doing what seems impossible. We are able to take off the lenses of pain and replace them with the lenses of grace. We can release to God all that clutters our heart. We can be free from bitterness, envy, discontent, conflict, and so much more. We can walk away from the expectations we have set upon the shoulders of others and the expectations we have for ourselves. We can begin to forgive ourselves and we can begin to forgive others. Forgiveness does not always lead to a restored relationship but it leads to the road of healing.
What (or who) is cluttering your heart or mind and preventing you from having complete freedom? Will you allow Jesus to search those deep areas of your heart and bring them to the surface to be healed?
Can you give forgiveness to the person who did not ask for it and may not be worthy of it? It is time. It is time to forgive that person (or people) then forgive again and again. It may take us saying it a hundred times before we actually feel the burden lifted but eventually we will be FREE from that burden. It is in freedom that we will walk with the lenses of grace and cultivate the healthy relationships that we deeply desire with other people and with our God. We can experience true peace and joy.