Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Power of Forgiveness - By @Emily Laney

Photo credit: Keoni Cabral 
(creative commons)
The Power of Forgiveness
Emily Walters Laney

I love this month’s theme on the Church 4 Chicks blog: “The Power of Christ IN us”.  It’s a simple statement, but it really packs a punch, and honestly, I didn’t know where to start with this post at first.  I mean, how do you encompass such a powerful statement in 500 words?  

Over breakfast at our favorite local spot one Saturday, I explained the theme to my husband. “What should I write about?” I asked him as I took a bite of my cinnamon roll French toast (FYI, best breakfast ever, so good.) 

He didn’t even hesitate with his answer, “Forgiveness.” 

At first I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he is absolutely right.  What demonstrates the power of Christ in us more than our ability to forgive?  I think about the cross, and as Christ was suffering immense pain that most of us can’t even fathom, he spoke truth over the whole world.  

“Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" – Luke 23:34a. 

The humility, the restraint, the power that Jesus demonstrated with those words are hard for me to comprehend sometimes.  The Creator of the Universe came to walk with us, to dwell with us, and then He suffered and died for us, and he forgave us!  I know in my own life I betray Christ and deny Him in many ways.  I don’t stand up for my faith like I should.  I am quiet when I should speak up more for His truth.  I am silent about injustice when I should tirelessly advocate.  I am prideful and look out for my own interests over those of others.  I’m a mess y’all, and even though I have plenty of things to ask forgiveness for, sometimes I can be slow to forgive others. 

I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I can be pretty sensitive.  I also really love to be in close community with others, so when I feel left out, betrayed, or ignored, it hurts.  Even though I have been forgiven for so many things (see above), I still struggle to forgive others.  I was reminded of this recently as I ruminated over a situation for days.  It got to a point where I knew that my lack of forgiveness was going to hurt me more than it would hurt the person by whom I felt betrayed.

Forgiveness isn’t easy.  Life is hard, and the source of our pain is usually from people close to us. We are all human, and we all have been on the giving and receiving sides of pain.  Some of the pain that we experience in this life feels unbearable.  Sometimes the hurts committed against us feels so crippling and so intense that we don’t think we could possibly offer forgiveness. 

That’s where the power of Christ comes in.  Christ dwells in us, and it’s with His power that we can forgive.  It’s not always easy, but with Him all things are possible.  If you are holding on to hurts, know that Christ wants to take that burden.  My prayer is that all of us can encourage and lift each other up to fully embrace the power that comes when we forgive.  

Emily Laney Bio:
Emily Laney is a social worker, educator, and justice seeker.  She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals.  She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia.  She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit.  Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.  

You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog

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