It was wacky Wednesday at my work place and as usual wacky Wednesday is when everything that could go wrong usually does. Though I was prepared to deal with whatever life was going to throw my way, on this day my preparation was short. If the encounter was a 10 (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being unbearable) well my preparation was possibly a 4! I had been sifting through the digital documents for almost the fiftieth time (without exaggeration). It was the most excruciating experience of my professional life. Looking for documents I had not put together (well at least most of them), documents I was not directly responsible for and looking through a 2-3 financial years worth… well my emotions were on edge. I usually am not that way but remember wacky Wednesday is what got me right where my preparation had set me. You add into this mix personal tension with fellow staff (for their role in the error, especially the ones who called in sick knowing what was going to happen); family discord (I think I had an argument with my newly married wife that morning… and I was wrong); one of my siblings also chose a great time to call me that morning on my way to work and unleashed her anger at my not calling my then sick dad; then my boss storming in to demand an update on my KPI report so that the budget for next quarter can be set, phones ringing non stop and team members from other team wanting my help all at the same time. And there was the recipe for… well you guessed it. The excuse to unleash for an emotional release.

I wish I could say I held it together but I didn’t do it quite as Jesus would. My emotions got the better of me and well everyone knew it. There was no outburst of anger but there were interesting manifestations of edginess. I remember thinking to myself I don’t know if I want to forgive my colleague who was directly responsible. Because not only did she call in sick for 2 days, she was then due to travel overseas for a 3 weeks Bali break! What about my sister who was not only younger but had no control of her own emotion though I had told her it was not a great time for such conversation? Or my beautiful wife ( well I was wrong there no need to over analyse) or the boss whom I had just told I am not having great day (hoping she would say let do the sales review next week).

There were many reasons for anger and seemingly valid reasons to not forgive but the underlying principle from all this was that God was trying to show me that it is always necessary to forgive. We always have a choice to forgive. Now my story may not be as deep as yours but the principles nonetheless are the same.

  1. No matter who we are our emotion have terrible habits of overcoming our judgement
  2. People will always hurt us, sometimes deliberately (especially those close to us) however we MUST refuse to make a permanent decision based on a temporary experience.
  3. At times God will allow your head to be offended so that He can reveal your heart to you.
  4. If God has allowed you to be tested it means you can pass the test. Which means God believes in you. James 1:2
  5. Forgiveness is like letting go of a prisoner only to realise the prisoner was you.

Forgiveness is letting go and building the confidence necessary to experience healthy and positive growth. If you read the later part of James 1:2-6 it actually says the whole aim of going through those hurtful and painful experiences is to cause character to be formed and perfected! So you can declare that you will no longer remain locked in the past as a victim of circumstances. That you will no longer perpetuate negative life-patters through blame and anger. That you will instead access the strength and love that God gives you day by day, moment by moment, in order to fulfill the unique and singular purpose for which you and only you were created.

Sometimes all you can do is forgive. I once heard Jamie Kelly say “the judgment throne belongs to God not to us” I love that saying and I think you will find encouragement in it as well.

Now I know that forgiveness is a hard task. Please understand that it is not abracadabra! It requires work, it requires a connection to God, a sincere desire to let go and let God. No matter how deep people may have hurt you, spoken badly about you, treated you worst than a dog! Or even lied about you. Remember your existence is God’s way of saying ‘You Matter to Me”. Whatever anyone may have done to you does not determine your future in Christ. You decide that! And remember you are vital and important, irreplaceable and essential to the perfection of God’s plan for the out working of Christ’s salvation for this world. So be encouraged to rise above the pain others have caused you and find the love and strength to forgive them.

After all God forgave us much.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Ps Sterg Ayeni