I realized that unforgiveness was not a choice I could continue to make — not if I wanted to follow jesus.
YOUR WORD IS A LAMP FOR MY FEET, A LIGHT ON MY PATH. — PSALM 119:105
There was this person I didn’t want to forgive.
And here’s the funny thing, he didn’t do anything to me. Weird, right? Well, he’d actually done a real number on my husband, and for some reason this made it much harder for me to forgive him. I was full-on, mama-bear mad. But I never really had anywhere to go with my anger. It was one of those “hit-and-run” deals. This guy blew everything up and then walked away, unscathed and uncaring. I never really saw him again. So, even though I was so very mad, I didn’t really need to forgive him, right? Surely time would heal that wound, and it would all just fade away. But you see, it didn’t really fade away, because deep in my heart, I was still angry and bitter—and truth be told, I didn’t really want to forgive him.
But, the Bible didn’t leave me that option.
Every time I heard a sermon on forgiveness or read about forgiveness in the Bible, I felt my conscience pricked. Eventually, I realized that unforgiveness was not a choice I could continue to make—not if I wanted to follow Jesus. This verse kept coming to the forefront of my mind: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Who was I to hold a grudge against another person when Jesus forgave all of my sins? The Bible didn’t leave me the option to stay mad and refuse this man forgiveness. And even though I was the only one who knew about my grudge, I finally forgave him. I did it because I knew that if I was going to follow God’s Word, my decision was already decided. I just needed to get on board.
When it comes down to it, so many decisions are like this.
For the believer, so many decisions are already decided for us, already laid out in the Scriptures. This is the beauty of the Word of God—in it, God shows us the path of life and he also reveals the path of destruction (Deuteronomy 30:15-16). Where would we be without this lamp, this light guiding our feet on the path of life and freedom and blessing? For me, in my situation, I’d still be stuck in bitterness and anger. And in so many other situations, I would choose pride over humility, greed over generosity, selfishness over service. God’s Word is what challenges me and calls me to a better path, his path.
What about you?
What about you, right now? What decisions are you laboring to decide that should be simple because they’ve already been decided for us in God’s Word? What decisions have you already made that really never were in step with the Bible? Decisions like deciding to hold on to unforgiveness. When we hold our decisions under the lamp of God’s Word, then we can truly see them for what they are. And I must confess, I regularly come across passages of Scripture that light up not only the right path I should take, but the wrong path that I’m already on. Without God’s Word to reveal my own secret longings or motivations, I’m in the dark. Like the Apostle Paul says, “I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’” (Romans 7:7). It is the law of God that shows us our true selves.
Let that Word shine.
So here’s my challenge for you: bring your decisions into the light. The next time you read God’s Word, ask him to illuminate your decisions—the ones you’re currently making and the ones you’re already walking in. What paths have you been on that you need to abandon? Where are you holding on to unforgiveness or anger or bitterness? Where are you walking in selfishness, greed, lust, unfaithfulness, or dishonesty? What better paths—God’s paths—can you choose instead by the power of the Holy Spirit?
God, help us see ourselves and our choices in light of your Word. Give us the humble honesty to see ourselves rightly and confess our poor choices. Give us the strength and conviction to follow your ways. And when we stray from the path, lead us back to you. Amen.
What about when there are two good paths before us—neither going against God’s Word? This is a great question, one we don’t have space to answer here. Read “What’s God’s Will for Me?” for more on that question. And be sure to catch my interview with Lauren McAfee on the podcast (releasing this Thursday, January 12th) for a really helpful discussion on how to discern God’s will.
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
ON THE PODCAST
Lessons from A Rule Lover // Natalie Abbott
When you hear the word “law,” does it make you bristle a bit, or do you want to start composing a love poem? Join Natalie Abbott, co-founder of Dwell Differently, as she walks us through 3 important questions as we memorize and and meditate on Psalm 119:105 this month. This important verse, and important chapter, in God’s Word helps set the tone for us as we think about the Bible and how we interact with and respond to it in our daily lives. We know you’ll be encouraged as you see afresh the benefits and beauty of the Word of God!