I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ Hosea 10:12 NLT
I opened the door knowing the moment I stepped inside, resentment could capture my heart. Forgiveness had been a long time coming. Distance had helped, but what would happen when I see them in person?
Grudges had developed after each time I was uninvited. The times they never spoke. The times they left me sitting alone. The times I felt invisible.
When we fail to forgive, bitterness takes root (Hebrews 12:15). Then the next time they slight you, that root grows deeper, until a grudge has formed.
Instead of immediately forgiving each incident, I held onto my anger. Forgiveness cannot grow in hard hearts.
Like a garden, the soil must be plowed up, for the seeds to grow. God must plow up the hard ground of our hearts, the fallow ground as the King James Version calls it.
Fallow ground is the earth which hasn’t been plowed for at least one year, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Weeds and thorns prevent the good seed from growing there unless it is plowed.
Breaking up that hard ground is painful. Think of the plowing process. Even a hoe repeatedly striking the ground, breaking it into smaller chunks, can be uncomfortable.
Forgiveness is not an option. It is a command. When they insult us, they insult God? If God forgives, why can’t we?
The seeds of forgiveness were hindered by the weeds and thorns of an unforgiving heart. They had to be dug up, plowed up, and removed to leave fertile soil for the seeds of forgiveness to flourish.
As I left, stepping into the cool night air, I thanked God. Finally, He had the victory. No hard feelings arose. No replay in my mind of each wrongdoing. God had done a work on my bitter, hard heart. I had forgiven them. Now a crop of love can flourish. Loving one another includes forgiving one another.
Looking back, I see my mistakes. I kept hitting rewind on every incident, playing it over and over in my mind. Instead, I should have sought forgiveness, and spent more time in prayer.
We must stop harping on the hurt and start focusing on the forgiveness.
After all, God has forgiven them, and He has forgiven me so much more. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place for every one of my sins. Even the sin of unforgiveness.
Friend, if you find yourself unable to forgive, ask God to help you. Beg Him for victory over the root of bitterness. Refuse to dredge up the pain. Strive for forgiveness. We are never more like God than when we forgive.
Forgiving isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, it is extremely difficult, but we cannot allow the sin of unforgiveness to feel at home in our hearts. Draw close to God, continually in prayer until He has given you victory.
Lord, Enable me to forgive (insert name). Plow up the weeds and thorns of resentment. Destroy the root of bitterness. On my own, I cannot do this. It is only through You that I can forgive. I give You the praise, honor, and glory now for the victory You will have in my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.