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Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes this satisfying sense of renewal. Fruit trees are budding and getting ready to blossom, their leaves returning in all their emerald glory! Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and butterflies flutter about enjoying the warmer weather. People are beginning to plant gardens and flowers in anticipation, while others are making plans for Spring Break. Then there are those that are excited about Spring cleaning. It seems like the Spring Season gives people this need to deep clean and get rid of old stuff. There’s fulfillment and satisfaction with making everything look clean and fresh.

I have been doing some “Spring cleaning” in my life for the past several years, and most recently in the past couple of years, I have been working on forgiveness. When I got divorced, the wounds ran deep. I was full of anger, resentment, hatred, and bitterness. In the past, my forgiveness had conditions based on my ex-husband’s past mistakes, what mistakes he was making at the moment, and what his future mistake might be. When I truly began to unconditionally forgive him, there was so much of my own mess I had to sort through. I knew I had to swallow my pride in order to forge ahead into this painful but beautiful transformation that I had been longing for and dreading at the same time! The one big thing I learned was just because I was willing to go back to the “mess” over and over again, it didn’t mean I was really “deep cleaning” the mess. I wasn’t digging deep into the things that really needed to be gone through, and I definitely was not “getting rid of any old junk.” I felt justified with the resentment and hatred I felt. You see, for years, I felt like I tried to make the marriage work, I fought to fix things, I was willing to move forward and forget the past, I felt I was the only one putting forth the effort, but all I was really doing was going back and living in the same old mess. God began to deal with my heart. Where would I be without God's forgiveness? How many times had God forgiven me of my past and present mistakes, without conditions?  That’s when the real change began and God was right there helping me through it.

Forgiveness requires taking a long hard look at yourself. Like Spring cleaning, once you begin to dig deep into the corners and closets that you have neglected for so long you begin to find things you didn’t know you still had, like anger. You find some things you’ve been holding onto that just don’t pertain to who you are anymore, like resentment. When you forgive someone without conditions, it changes your perspective, not only about the situation but about the person you are forgiving. Ever since I decided to unconditionally forgive, I can acknowledge that there were two damaged and wounded people who were going back to the same old mess and thinking they were really trying, yet not believing they were the ones that needed to be digging deep within themselves to change in order to really be able to fix the situation. I believe forgiveness and change go hand in hand; you can’t truly have one without the other. Perhaps, that’s why it is so hard to unconditionally forgive because you know there’s going to be a change in you, in the way you think and feel, and that can be a frightening, and difficult thing to do.

Forgiveness has been one of the longest and hardest roads I’ve ever traveled, and change has been a process of digging down to the deepest depths of my begrudging heart. But with it comes tremendous freedom of the heavy and burdensome chains of that past mess that you unknowingly have been dragging along life’s path with you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have given others permission to hurt you or that it was ok, it literally means to cease to feel resentment against, to cancel a debt, it means to absolve them, or free them from any consequences, (that you wish to impose) which in turn frees you of any consequences you would have imposed on yourself.  You have finally given yourself a pass. A pass to let your guard down. A pass to let yourself be open to whatever God has for you. A pass to be completely done with the past. A pass to move forward into the blessings of God.

Ezekiel 36:26

Matthew 6:14 & 15

Ephesians 4:31 & 32

1 John 1:9

Isaiah 41:10

Romans 2:1 & 3

Phillipians 3:13

Is the past always interfering with your present and future?
Jesus is waiting to help

Know peace, healing, and hope!

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