“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters whoever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” Oceans-Hillsong United
For those of you that don’t know this song, it’s a pretty popular Christian song by Hillsong United. I remember the first time I heard it and was completely touched by the lyrics. I wanted a relationship with God so strong that I would desire to be taken to the ends of the earth if it pleased Him.
The more I listened to it the more I thought about it’s message. How so far, I’ve literally moved to a country I barely heard of in blind faith. But since I’ve arrived, I’ve been at a stand still.
So I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. For God to use me, to revive me, to give me a clean heart so I can serve Him with pure love.
And slowly, God has been placing opportunities along my path for me to do what I’ve asked. But it wasn’t easy stuff like give money or give the clothes off my back. It was giving my time, sharing my heart with my newly met brothers and sisters in Christ.
Each time an opportunity presented itself, I pulled back more and more. Did I really want to become attached to new people? Couldn’t I just serve from the background? I started doubting whether or not I truly wanted to follow Jesus blindly.
Things started popping up, things from my past that had led me to having a very calloused heart. I’ll refer you to an old post I wrote about my brother in law. After that post, I worked on it and I continue to work on it each and every day. It’s hard, but I make a conscious effort to not hate him.
Anyway, this past Sunday my pastor gave a sermon that I felt was directed towards me. He started the sermon by asking us how many of us have enemies? I shot my hand up, glancing at Carlos, my eyes saying “yeah you already know.” My pastor then asked, “How many of you would get on the cross for your enemies?” I sat there and rolled my eyes because I knew EXACTLY where he was going with this. I felt my flesh want to reject the message. I thought to myself, “Lord, I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”
As the message continued, I felt the callouses around my heart put up a pretty big fight but eventually gave way. And I cracked. I called my good friend, Edith, and told her to pray for me. That God was working on some deep rooted issues in me and I needed a lot of guidance from Him. She shared a few verses with me and told me that she would keep me in her prayers.
Three days later, Gods test came knocking. I was shocked. I didn’t think that this was how God was planning on working through me even though He had been preparing me for that day for awhile. After all was said and done, I still felt a bit uneasy. Unsure that this was a door God wanted opened in my life. Unsure of what could come out of it.
But yesterday I received my confirmation. I went to visit Edith, her husband, and their five beautiful girls (the youngest being my goddaughter) since it had been awhile since I had seen them. While we were all sharing with each other, I told Edith of God answering my prayer. And she told me that her husband, Ismael, had wanted to share a passage with me in regards to the subject.
Matthew 18: 21-35 “The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant”
Cliff notes version: A master has a servant that owes him a lot of money. The servant can’t pay him back so he begs the master to forgive his debt. The master, being merciful, forgives the debt. The servant then goes on his way and comes along another servant that he had loaned money to. When he asks his friend where his money is, the friend asks for more time because he cannot repay the debt. Instead of being merciful to his friend like his master had been with him, he has his friend jailed. When the master hears of his unkindness he punishes his servant for being unmerciful.
That’s when Ismael looked at me, saw the look on my face, and knew that I understood what was being said. And it came back around to one thing. “Forgive as you are forgiven.”
You see, I always thought that one of my greatest gifts was my ability to forgive. But in that moment talking with Ismael, I realized that my forgiveness is conditional. If the person didn’t acknowledge the wrong they did, I would not forgive them and I would then I harbor a lot of resentment towards them. How dare they think they did nothing wrong?
But I realized, after many years of not knowing that this was my struggle, that forgiveness is actually anything but easy for me. I think that God has been working on me for years to be able to truly understand forgiveness and what it truly means of me.
I’ve spent years asking God to lead me to a place where I have to trust Him wholeheartedly. And in this moment, if trusting Him with my fragile heart and the door that was opened is what I have to do then so be it.
I don’t know if I’ll publicize much of my road to forgiveness as it will be a personal one but I do appreciate any sort of encouragement or if anyone would like to aid in keeping me accountable in my journey.