This month has been unusually busy at work. It's the end of the year, and we're trying to finalize all records that are still open. Plus we're trying to finish the year strong, so we're working very hard to manufacture and ship as much product as possible.
The last two weeks I've worked late all but 2 nights. I grow more tired every day, and that leads to "cranky pants." Noticing that I was slightly grumpy, I decided to take some preaching CDs to work. I grabbed some sermons on CD by Joyce Meyer that I've owned for several years. My main purpose was to plug in to some Word and focus on my work so I could meet all of these deadlines.
As I was listening to one CD for the 3rd time yesterday, the Holy Spirit started moving within me. Joyce Meyer gave an analogy from her personal life about how we "hold debts" over people's heads. Instead of forgiving our spouses, relatives, friends, and etc for their offenses we continually bring it up and hold it against them. As she continued, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something very important.
In 2008 a dear friend of mine committed suicide. In the midst of my grief, a lot of emotional baggage that I was already carrying surfaced. I was quite wounded. I started writing letters to the people who offended me just to work through all of this bottled up emotion. Over the years, I printed the letters and put them in sheet protectors. I then organized the letters chronologically in a binder, and added a cover sheet titling it "Unspoken Letters." This binder sits with my journals and scrapbooks.
I've never been able to let go of these letters. The Holy Spirit convicted me of hanging on to all of this baggage. If I truly forgave the offenders (for lack of a better word), I wouldn't be treating these letters with such importance. Why was I protecting these letters, and even decorating them like a book I wanted to publish? I gave these letters so much power over me, and I didn't even realize it.
This morning, I removed all of the letters out of the binder. I almost threw them away, but the Holy Spirit pushed me even further. All of the letters went into the shredder. It's all gone! All of that bitterness, pain, and unforgiveness were destroyed in seconds.
Forgiveness is so freeing!