I determined that I would not put it off one more day. No more crying bitter tears in bed over this.
So at the end of the day, I told my husband I was going to the bedroom to do some journalling, and then I closed the door and got to it. I got on my knees first, and asked God to help me get all this out so I could finally forgive.
I wrote down I AM ANGRY, and I listed everything I was angry about. I let the bitterness rise up like a hard pit in my stomach. Then I wrote down I AM SAD, and I listed all the things that had hurt me or made my heart feel broken. I filled pages. I sat in my sorrow like a puddle of tears.
And then I wrote I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE, and filled two pages with Bible verses about forgiveness.
And then I curled up in my bed to sob. Forgiveness makes no sense. It doesn’t feel fair. What feels fair is to hold onto the hurt because that’s what the other person deserves. Holding onto it feels like standing up for myself. I was wronged! I should not have to take that!
And I’d been avoiding God on this for days, because I was just too angry to let go of my spite. I knew in my head that unforgiveness imprisons me and weighs me down. But I was having trouble getting that knowledge down into my heart.
As I sobbed, I had a conversation with Jesus in my head.
He was standing on the grass beside where I sat. I had piled colorful pebbles and daisies near His feet. I was crying, and He gently said, “I love all of the beautiful stones you’ve given Me. I know those represent all the good things you’ve done lately, like kindness towards others, and praising Me, and so much more. Thank you for these gifts. But there’s something else I want more. There’s something else I want you to give Me.”
I looked at Him.
“I want the black rock. I know you carry it in your pocket. You can’t hide it from Me. I know it’s precious to you, and you don’t want to give it up. You reach into your pocket often to hold it, and every time you do that, you feel the anger and the hurt all over again. You have been enjoying that pain, because it makes you think you’re right and the other person is wrong.
“That rock is named Unforgiveness. And that’s what I want you to give Me.”
I cried harder and clutched at the rock. If I gave it up, what would I have then?? I was afraid to forgive!
With stubbornness I said to Jesus, “But that person doesn’t deserve it!”
He said, “But don’t I deserve it?”
I looked up at Him, and I saw the wooden cross behind Him. He had given me life when He went to the cross. Nothing would be too much for Him to ask of me.
Jesus said, “You have been treasuring that rock too long. It’s time to let it go. You’ll put it in My hand, and I’ll throw it into the sea. And from now on, when you reach into your pocket out of habit, you’ll find the pocket empty. You’ll remember the day you placed that black rock in My hand, and there will no longer be resentment in your heart. There will be peace. And you’ll be able to take full breaths into your lungs instead of feeling suffocated by anger. You’ll be able to face your days without the weight of sadness on your shoulders.
“And then one day, you’ll stop reaching into your pocket for the rock. It will be only a distant memory. And that day is named Freedom.”
I got up from my bed. I dried all the tears off my face, and I ripped out the pages of my journal where I had written everything that made me angry or hurt. I took them out to the yard with a silver pot, and I huddled under a tree to avoid the wind and the rain. I burned five pages of ugly emotions, turning them to ashes in front of my eyes. My God makes beauty from ashes.
The next day I made myself a black rock.
And the next day I drove to the creek and threw it in.
When I find myself reaching back into "my pocket" for the black rock, instead of a stab of pain, I feel relief. Jesus and I are on a journey toward Freedom.
“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”