(I’m at the library so I finally have internet connection. Thank the Lord! Sorry for all the missed days. May this encourage you today)
On September 22, 2011 I had a dream. The words at the end really impacted me. I have them written in the front of my Bible. “Without forgiveness our spiritual growth is stunted, like the butterfly who remains swollen.”
The life of a caterpillar’s journey has always fascinated me. When I was a child I would put the caterpillar in a shoe box. I was able to watch the whole process. First it devoured the leaves I gave it.
One day it climbed up on the branch and began to spin its chrysalis. Many years ago I read something in a child’s magazine called “Ranger Rick.” The caterpillar melts inside the cocoon.
It is from the liquid that the Lord creates the butterfly. The caterpillar dies to bring new life. When the butterfly emerges, it hangs by a thread. Its body is swollen with fluid. It has to struggle to get all that fluid pumped into its wings. If someone would cut the tread? The butterfly would fall to the ground, unable to fulfill God’s design to fly.
The butterfly’s strength is in the struggle. Have you ever struggled to forgive someone who hurt you? Are there circumstances in your life that are like grit in your throat? My chickens used to get things stuck in their craws.
The good news is that your sins, and the sins of the one who hurt you, are forgiven through Jesus death. I love this verse. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” The east and west never meet. Forgiving those who hurt us requires our appropriation of the truth.
Unforgiveness blocks God’s design for our relationship with Himself as well as others. Unforgiveness is darkness. 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
Forgiving from the heart takes the gripping pain away. When we allow the whole experience to circle the wagon in our mind, God Himself will send tormentors. They can be in myriad forms. Matthew 18:21-35 is an account that needs to be fresh in our minds.
Verse 35 says, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” It referenced the tormentors from verse 34.
God’s love is unconditional. He doesn’t take His love away if we refuse to forgive. However, fellowship with Him is blocked, and spiritual growth is stunted. We grow in grace and in our knowledge of the Lord by letting things from the past go. Our past is passed. It only exists in our mind. Let us gaze upon Him with an unveiled face, that has been freed. We are called to endure the struggles which He has allowed to draw us closer to Him.