Yeah But Forgiveness

I used to have a “Yeah But” problem. Sometimes I still do, especially when explaining to My Father why it is not possible for me to forgive someone. Do you have a “I’ll forgive you but” problem, like me? 

“Yeah but” they hurt me bad. “Yeah but” you don’t understand. “Yeah but” it is not fair! “Yeah buts”, I learned was just my excuse for my sin of being unforgiving. Without total forgiveness we tend to bring our past hurts with us into our future. We may think we are fine but beneath our “I’m fine smile.”
being unforgiving can silently fester deep within our hearts.

The house was filled with the smell of fresh baked cookies. I was not married long when I decided to surprise “X” with some warm chocolate chip cookies. When he walked through the door, I gave him one to try. “WHY did you put so many chips in these!! And you put way too many nuts in them too!!” He was yelling at me for making cookies with too many chips and nuts. Baffled, I swallowed my hurting heart that crept up in my throat. The “X” said, “I am going bowling; catch You later.” I thought good he left! I will re-home these cookies to someone who would appreciate them. My neighbor was  happy to receive the cookies. Still baffled about the whole incident I shoved that experience down in my heart.

Not too many days later, the “X” started yelling at me for sitting on my behind all day while he worked. His proof that I did nothing was dust on the top of the refrigerator. Guilty. There was dust up there but he missed acknowledging the rest of the house was clean and dinner was ready.

Oh yeah, dinner. Stuffed Cornish hens and rice, salad, vegetables and dessert. He wasn’t impressed. “Come on, we are going out!” he proclaimed. “But dinner is all ready. I cooked all day,” I said. He gave me his hurry up look and said, “Shove it in the refrigerator.” Another baffling incident that confused me. So I shoved that hurt down in my heart where hurts were starting to pile up.

Then came the day he hit me. It was the first time, on the way to church. All because we didn’t agree on a place to eat after church. No longer did I want to go to church with him. What a joke of a marriage!  The “X” could always put on a smile and be oh so helpful and nice to everyone…but me. He walked in with his smile. I walked in with a tear stained face and another hurt shoved down in my heart. The bruises were a pretty purple in a few days. He sent me a dozen carnations–the first of many dozens as it was his way of thinking it made the abuse okay. The so-called marriage continued down a slippery hill of destruction. Soon my heart was full of hurt.

Every morning, the “X” would tell me he “loved me.” If I did not say it back he would stand over me and wait until I told him I loved him. I pleaded with the LORD to help me. He did and was —if only I had listened. In order to make an honest woman out of me, I was impressed to add three words to the forced “I love you” in the morning. As soon as I heard the door slam, I added -”in the LORD.”

The heap of hurt in my heart kept growing. More baffling examples of his behavior are:

  • Putting a frozen turkey next to me in bed and told me to warm up to that.
  • Training his dog to bite at me.
  • Punching me in the head like a boxer when I did not want to go out with him, as I didn’t feel well.
  • Telling me to leave,  then blocking the door when I tried too, shoving me against the wall.
  • Chasing me with a crowbar, holding a hammer over my head and pointing a shotgun at me…and more!

So finally I heard the still small voice of the LORD when I pleaded for protection and help. Simply put I heard, “I gave you a brain, use it.”  Although I left and went back to a “promise keeper, changed man” twice. The change? He treated me worse each time I came back after about a week. The third time I left, I didn’t go back.

The most important thing the LORD impressed upon my heart was that I needed to forgive him before I left. This is where I began to have the “Yeah Buts.” My heart full of hurts had to be cleaned out like the cookies on my computer. But I didn’t know how as my “Yeah Buts” hindered true forgiveness and the freedom it brings. 

The cure for the “Yeah Buts” is two powerful words that popped up in my heart. “NO BUTS!” 

I knew I had to make a decision. Was it easy? NO BUT….God’s grace, mercy and love working in my heart and mind gave me the courage and wisdom to make the impossible possible. I totally forgave the “X” before leaving the last time. I asked the LORD to cleanse my heart out of all the pent up hurts. After many tears from allowing the hurts I buried so deep, to come to the surface to deal with them, I lay them down forevermore. Freedom! God’s ways are sure and true. Yes, I remember the pain of former days but they do not hurt me. The “X” has moved on and I have no ill feeling towards him. I love him in the LORD and wish him the best. I know I have the BEST life ever, free from the past hurts in mind and soul.

How many times have we been in a situation and told a person, I forgive you but thought…. “you don’t deserve my forgiveness; or do you know how much you hurt me!” Or I will forgive you “IF you don’t go out doing that any more!” A too common mistake is bringing the subject or discussion up again. Like picking on an old scab we make ourselves bleed again. If we bring up old hurts or discussions to each other; did we really forgive each other? Thankfully, the LORD doesn’t have the “Yeah But” condition as His Word says He forgives us. When God forgives He forgets. How far is the East from the West? 

Psalms 103:12 (NASV) As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

“Yeah Buts” sometimes come back like a bad case of hiccups. When the “Yeah Buts” show up we need to remind ourselves “NO BUTS” is the Way to Freedom. Our Father has forgiven us of all of our sins. Jesus suffered pain we can not even imagine providing The Way to forgiveness for us. I am glad God didn’t say, “Brenda I will forgive you BUT first you must lose 50 lbs,  cut up your credit card, never get angry again, never miss church and give up Snickers bars!” So glad God is not like that. God does what He says and states His conditions (IF) in His Word.

1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus said, (Matthew) 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Forgiving myself for my many foolish choices was far more difficult than forgiving others,  but it is just as necessary.

 

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