Have you ever gone to church angry with someone? Have you ever sung the songs during worship and even lifted your hands while harboring bitterness in your heart? Have you ever taken communion while holding in your heart a multi-year grudge towards someone who hurt you deeply? Have you ever pleaded with God to forgive you for something stupid you did while believing it’s your right to resent the person who did you wrong?
I think most all of us have. Remember this from Ephesians 4?
26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
While driving from Tulsa to Oklahoma City a few weeks ago, a thought dropped into my mind. Could it be that when we forgive others, we are offering the Father one of the forms of worship he loves most?
So every time I raise my hands or bow down as an act of surrender in worship, I’m going to look inward to see if I have surrendered all bitterness and resentment as well. Is it even possible to worship God whole-heartedly when part of one’s heart is darkened by unforgiveness?
Perhaps I will even add a physical expression to that surrendering of my unforgiveness to the Father. Instead of raising open hands, I will raise clenched fists to the Father.
To the Father I will say, “This unforgiveness is like a rock in my soul. I choose to forgive ________. I surrender this resentment to you now. Like my sin, it is covered by the blood of Jesus. I no longer hold it against _________. Freely I have received your forgiveness, freely now I extend it to ___________.”
Then I open my clenched fists before the Father, offering him the unforgiveness I wanted to hold on to.
Forgiving Others = Worship the Father Loves
Forgiving Others = Worship that Transforms Us
Forgiving Others = Worship that Frees Us
Forgiving Others = Worship that Expresses Heartfelt Thanks for the Forgiveness We Received
Yes. YES. YES!!! I have been having this same epiphany and working through the path of chosen forgiveness. Thanks for the encouragement!