Cultivating a Forgiving Spirit - Becoming a Peacemaker
by Lucille Palmer
L. Willam Countryman likens a forgiving spirit to being a “peacemaker”, embracing the following behaviors:
a) Letting go of the animosity and emotional or spiritual pain associated with an oﬀense.
b) Looking for fresh ways and possibilities for building lasting peace.
c) Embracing a vision of a better future and helping others see it as well.
For much of my life I have resisted letting go of the anger, resentment and bitterness I have towards others whom I perceive as having oﬀended me. Like a dog with a bone, I have held on to my anger and resentment, justifying it by judging them as wrong and myself as right and righteous. This only fueled my stubbornness, anger, and sinful thoughts towards my oﬀender(s). I have spent too many years struggling with my own feelings of self-righteous indignation, insecurity and arrogance. (this would be a good place for an anecdote)
God in His never-ending grace humbled me by bringing me to my knees and showing me my own sinful nature “in bright technicolor”. Through God’s grace I continue to daily surrender my own stubborn and misguided self-will. I am not God and it is misguided for me to assume a role “playing at being God”. I embrace the fact that I am powerless to control my tendency to sin and do the wrong thing. Only God can transform my unforgiving heart towards others.
For it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose.
With God’s grace I will continue to look for the promise of God’s peace and salvation. I see this as a life-long journey. I have much to learn on this journey. I continuously ask God to help me think less about myself and my own selfish desires. I know that only He will continue to help me face my own brokenness and, through His grace, cleanse me of my sins so that I might be able to inspire others as they see His power at work in me. I ask God to give me the eyes for fresh ways and possibilities for building lasting peace. I also pray that God will provide me the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and extend God’s love and peace with others.
My ability to embrace a vision of a better future is based on my faith that God will prevail over all that is evil, unjust, and unfair.
Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in You.