At times I have a lot of trouble clearing my mind of past wounds. They like to haunt me when I least expect it. It’s an ongoing battle. A battle that makes me worry that I carry unforgiveness in my heart.
Out of this worry, I reached out to a pastor and friend, Dr. Brian Simmons, for council. He said the following to me.
“Jennifer, it is more that you have a heart that is willing to forgive.”
The Bible tells us that it is a heart that has the willingness to forgive that the Lord desires. In our fallen human nature, complete and total forgiveness is only something that the Lord can provide.
Even Jesus Himself had this very struggle in His human nature.
Just before His arrest, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Matthew 26:40-42 The Passion Translation (TPT)
40 Later, he came back to his three disciples and found them all sound asleep. He awakened Peter and said to him, “Do you lack the strength to stay awake with me for even just an hour? 41 Keep alert and pray that you’ll be spared from this time of testing. You should have learned by now that your spirit is eager enough, but your humanity is weak.” 42 Then he left them for a second time to pray in solitude. He said to God, “My Father, if there is not a way that you can deliver me from this suffering, then your will must be done.”
The disciples’ spirits were willing to do what was right. In fact, just a few minutes earlier, all of them had pledged their lives to Jesus: “Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the other disciples said the same” (Matthew 26:35). But, as it turned out, they couldn’t even pray with Jesus for any length of time. Their flesh was weak. They fell asleep because of their physical human weakness. They were tired. By affirming that “the spirit is willing,” Jesus was saying that He knew the disciples wanted to stay awake and pray, but the weakness of the flesh had overpowered the spiritual desire to pray and watch. Jesus was not scolding them but exhorting them to beware of the weakness of the flesh. The Lord Himself was fighting the same struggle against the flesh, but He had overcome it (verse 39).
Therefore, He carried it all on the cross for us.
We are called by God to be willing to serve, willing to love, willing to believe, and willing to forgive.
By Your will be done. Not of our own.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Wondering how many times the Bible calls us to be willing to forgive? Jesus asks us to model our forgiveness of others on the way God has forgiven us, forgiving “not by seven times, but seventy-seven.”
So, in the same way, we are called to keep willing good thoughts that lead to good actions, which leads to the willingness to believe, serve, love, and forgive.
Over and over and over……
We are called to seek what is holy and beautiful, and then we are called to be willing to follow.
“Pick up your cross and follow me.”
“Oh Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy.” Nehemiah 1:11
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Holy Beautiful Life
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