Matthew 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
There is a condition known as “Regretted Delayed Clapback (RDC)” that I think we all have suffered from at least once in our lifetime. Regretted Delayed Clapback is when you experience a disagreement or argument with someone, but only after the argument has ended, do you come up with the perfect Clapback to something that was said by the opposing party. You realize this Clapback could have potentially shut the conversation down and “won” you the argument. But unfortunately, you can’t go back and rehash the argument, so it plays over and over in your mind. You may even find yourself practicing what you could have said in the mirror, getting yourself all worked up over an alleged missed opportunity. Chances are, this condition doesn’t end well, and eventually, you find yourself right in the middle of an argument again.
Although I completely made up the term Regretted Delayed Clapback, I believe the experience is still very real. It can be difficult to move past hurtful situations. This is especially true when we decide to truly forgive someone. God can work on our hearts and move us lovingly toward forgiveness, as we take that courageous step to reconcile a relationship. But after the emotions have worn off and the heart has settled, we find ourselves in a place similar to RDC. Our mind starts to race and we begin to have thoughts of regret… “What if the person really didn’t forgive me?” “What if they hurt me again?” “I forgot to apologize for this, what if they are still mad?” “I don’t feel like I really forgave them, so was it real?”
So many thoughts run through our mind, designed to keep us from fully living out forgiveness. It’s natural for there to be a time of awkwardness and uneasiness in the early stages of forgiveness. The heart needs time to heal and we have to learn to love one another again, but that doesn’t mean the forgiveness isn’t real. We’ve learned that our “feelings” are some of the most unreliable experiences we have. We can’t always trust how we feel. We have to trust solely on the power of God Almighty to continue to do the good work in us that He promised.
It may be difficult to comprehend how we can sincerely forgive one another because many times we struggle to fully accept the forgiveness we receive through Jesus. We confess our sins and ask Jesus to come into our hearts, and that moment is beautifully sacred and filled with emotion. But later, when the emotions have faded and we think about our lives and pasts and mistakes, we start to question if God really forgave us for it all. “How can God truly love me enough to forgive me?” “What if I do it again?” “What if I’m not perfect?” “I don’t FEEL forgiven!” We sometimes allow our fear and doubt to get in the way of truly walking in God’s love and grace. We end up spending countless hours worrying and doubting, when God is calling us to have peace and joy. God wants to help us move away from our past and move forward in his sanctifying grace. Living out forgiveness may not be easy, but it is definitely possible. Don’t allow those awkward moments to overshadow the beauty on the other side of those ashes. Continue to allow God to restore and heal those wounds as He heals and restores your relationship. Learn to trust God too much to give up on Him.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving me a heart of forgiveness. Sometimes I allow doubt and fear to whisper to my insecurities and I question the work You are doing in my relationships. God, help me to trust in you and not my feelings. Help me to continue to love as You have called me to love; sincerely and from the heart. Thank you for restoration and the peace and comfort it brings. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
By: Min April Carter