Proverbs 31 Devotional
Hey friends,
If you're stopping by after reading today's Proverbs 31 devotional,
http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/  welcome. 
I hope you will join our discussion on the subject of forgiveness.
I have learned to love the quote I used in today's devotional,
"Forgiveness is like spinach. You might not like the taste but it is good for you."

Forgiveness can be a sensitive subject for sure, but I hope you will share your stories and insights with us.

Have you experienced a hurtful situation in your past that continues to occupy a place of "un-forgiveness" in your heart? In today's devotional I wrote about learning to forgive a dear friend who hurt me deeply, just to have her ignore my attempts to resolve the situation.
Hurt feelings? Oh Yeah!
Painful to be treated so rudely? You bet!
Eye opening? Huh? What?

Honestly, when this situation arose I never expected to be faced with the hurtful things I had said and done to others, but after studying God's word, I had to acknowledge that indeed I had said or done hurtful things to others in the past and at those times the forgiveness of God was extended to me.
Knowing this truth I could no longer allow myself to withhold forgiveness toward my friend.

Through further study God has shown me biblical steps to take as I forgive someone who has hurt me:
Recognize and confess my sins.
Psalm 41:4, "I said, ’O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.’" (NIV)
Rejoice in God’s forgiveness for my sins.
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)
Remember that forgiveness is a continual process.
Matthew 18:21-22a, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (NIV)



If you are tired of the bitter taste left in your mouth from "un" forgiveness I pray you will try God’s steps for a forgiving spirit.
I believe you’ll experience Psalm 34:8 for yourself:
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV)


Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. Martin Luther King


Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive. C. S. Lewis

Forgiveness unleashes joy. It brings peace. It washes the slate clean. It sets all the highest values of love in motion. In a sense, forgiveness is Christianity at its highest level. John MacArthur

What words of wisdom can you share with us from your experiences with forgiveness?




26 Comments:

Anonymous Melissa said...

Something that helps me to forgive others is remembering that I crucify Christ every day, yet He continues to forgive (if I ask). If He can forgive me for the things I do that hurt Him...then why can't I extend the same forgiveness to others whose actions and words seem so minute compared to what I do to the one who saved me and promises eternal life with Him?
Forgiveness is not easy, but first just recognizing that I am not immune to a need for forgiveness, helps me to begin that process of forgiving someone else.

Anonymous steph said...

How I needed this message today.

I appreciate your using a first hand, painful story for God's glory.

You pursued peace and did your part, I believe in time, your friend will come around, but until that time - I admire your choice to eat the spinach.

Your devotional touched my heart today as I needed to be reminded what forgiveness looks like...like Jesus.

Blogger Jerusha said...

Thank you so much for this devotional. I get Proverbs 31 devotionals every day in my inbox and I often read them and think how great they are...but today...WOW. Let me just say that I am struggling at forgiving some friends for the way that they have treated me and are continuing to treat me. It really hurts and I find it hard to continually forgive. Something happened again just last night and it stung a little more, then this morning I read this and let me just say WOW did it ever hit home. Funny how God hands you what you need just when you need it. THANK YOU SO MUCH! May God bless you today!

Blogger Joyce said...

Thank you for your words on forgiveness. Like many having hurtful words spoken I was angry. I love the verses you recomemded and I will read them often to remember God's forgiveness for my sins.

Anonymous Amy said...

Zoe - I just read your devotional and I was involved in a very similar situation when I lived abroad 6 months ago. The situation ended the same - after I wrote (as I was unable to speak directly with her) her a letter asking her to forgive me for whatever I had done. Writing that letter was like swallowing nails, since I knew I was in the right, but at the same time - The Lord did not want me to harbor those feelings. He asked me to give up my rights to being right in order that I might witness to this woman. I have literally heard nothing from her since but when I dropped the letter off - I felt a since of peace I have rarely known and that experience has helped me put my year in another country in correct perspective. While not something I care to repeat, that year we spent was full of God pruning off the bad fruit so He could use me for His purposes. Thank you for that and just be encouraged that He will continue to bless you through your obedience to Him and love for Him. How great is our God!!

Anonymous Corinne Griffith said...

This devotional really spoke to my heart today except I was on the other end. I told someone honestly about feelings I felt about something they did. After that conversation they just stop talking to me. I was there when this person was confused and searching to fill a void. God had used me as an instrument in his plan top draw her back to Him. I was very very hurt, because the Word says if you have an ought with someone then you go to that person, and I did just that. So thank you for allowing the Lord to use you in such a mighty way, this reconfirmed some things for me. God BLess You!

Blogger Donna Sue said...

Zoe,
As I was reading your devo this morning, so many emotions ran through me. Understanding, gratefullness for your courage to share, and memories of being there myself with a dear friend of mine years ago. This is a message we all need to hear...Thank You! Forgivness is such a hard thing to do at times, but unforgivness becomes a cancer that will eat you alive and that is not what God wants for us. After all, God forgives us each and everyday so, the least we can do is extend that same forgivness to others. It may not be easy at times, but it brings so much peace and growth every time we choose to forgive. I hurt a dear friend of mine and had no idea how I did and it crushed my soul! Through much prayer...for forgivness and to be able to forgive...God brought us back together and our friendship became stronger than ever. Sadly, she passed away 3 years ago and I Thank God for a hard, but valuable lesson of unconditional love and forgiveness. I'm praying for God to bring healing to your friend and to restore your friendship better and stronger than ever. Thank you for allowing your heartache help so many others...God Bless You!

Anonymous Kim in Charlotte NC said...

Here's another woman your devotion hit home with today - haha! I've been struggling with the same thing, and it's so hard not to pray "Lord, open her eyes so she can see how wrong she was" but to instead pray "Lord, help me forgive her no matter what, just as you forgave and continue to forgive me every day". Funny thing, your story really gave me peace Zoe. I've been focusing on the same forgiveness verses day in and day out, and this may be wrong, but reading that it happened to someone else kind of helped :-) Hey guess what, I'm not the only one in the world who's been wronged and trying to handle it as Christ would want - GO FIGURE! HAHA!

Blogger Paula (SweetPea) said...

I, too, have struggled with forgiveness. In several of my situations, the other party wronged me, yet through pain and time I've been able to forgive them. One situation is much like yours, I to this day have no clue what I've done to her. She lives in another state and will not respond to my emails.

Even more hurtful and painful is a situation where one friend wronged me and then she turned it and felt wronged by me because I couldn't immediately embrace her "i'm sorry" and forgive her. I've since been able to forgive her but she is the one who still holds a grudge. I never thought I'd desire a friendship with her again but I'm okay with that and now she is the one who is not wanting a relationship with me outside of our formal work relationship.

I have found in these two friendships, I struggle with the not knowing...much like your friend not acknowledging her wrong and the incident, how do you let go of that aspect? How do I let go of the other person's lack of sharing the problems? I guess we forgive their silence? Forgive them for not sharing the real problem? I don't know.

I feel for me it's not forgiveness but rather just wanting resolution...wanting to know in these relationships what went wrong, why does one not forgive me or speak to me, why did one abandon me, why does one not want a friendship now?

It's hard. Life is hard and relationships are the hardest of life.

Thanks for sharing. Forgiveness is hard subject.

And hey, spinach does taste better than forgiveness. :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for this incredibly transparent devotion.....the fact that if you do the right thing....even then it doesn't always work out the way you think is should or might....but no matter how difficult the situation is... God has forgiven us every debt in Jesus. Sorry for your pain but joyful about your obedience to Christ. What a great example you are. We are to do the same...even when it's hard to chew the spinach! Thank you this blessed me very much.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this particular devotion today. God is always timely! My grown daughter called me in tears this morning. She and a dear friend had gotten into a spat. She and I are both subscribers of Proverbs 31. Thank you again. Marcia Foster

Blogger Christy said...

Wow, what an unbelievable message. Absolutely inspired by the hand of GOD HIMSELF.

Oh the times that I have held onto things and hurt others in the process. Unforgiveness is such an evil thing that grows into anger and bitterness. I lived in that bitterness for a long time... until I did Beth Moore's bible study "Breaking Free". I didn't even know that I had all this pent up bitterness... but the Lord brought it it my attetion... I was so impressed by the Holy Spirit to write a letter of repentance and asking for forgiveness... since then I have been walking in the Freedom of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's amazing the weight that is lifted when we allow the Lord hand to work and allow for forgiveness to take root in our lives instead of the anger and bitterness. I never had a response to the letter that I wrote... and I Still see this family member... it's hard every time because that anger wants to rear it's ugly head... but I take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and walk in forgiveness and freedom.

HOpe this is a blessing to someone... it has been for me to remember where I had come from and what I am now experiencing.
God Bless ALL here!

Blogger Jessie said...

Your devotional today has touched my heart closer than anyother. Like you I was also hurt by a friend who I considered closer than my own sisters. We were inseperable for 10 years. She helped me through a time in my ministry when I thought I couldn't go on. She loved me enough to confront me with some difficult issues. I also did the same for her. We always joked that we would be little old ladies one day sitting sipping tea and remembering all the good, bad and ugly times. Then one day she simply stopped talking to me. She didn't return my phone calls and hardly spoke to me at church. I was confussed, stunned and furious. I begged her to tell me what I had done to make her so upset and asked for forgiveness even though I had no idea what I had done. She refused to talk about it and said nothing was wrong. Now 11 years later I still send birthday greetings and Christmas cards and the occassional email but never get a response. I've tried over and over to forgive her but the pain is still so strong. We ran into eachother at a wedding last year and she acted like nothing was wrong and said how she'd like to be back in touch. I was so excitted and encouraged and sent her an email about a month later. Again no response. I'd like to walk away and forget her but I can't. She and her husband and children were such a huge part of my life and now it's like I don't exist.
I don't know if she will ever enlighten me as to what I did. I find myself now unable to let friends get too close for fear of being hurt like that again. I let her see the worst of me and it made her turn her back. I can't risk that again. I find I even hold back in my own marriage for fear of my husband doing the same.
I wish I could just forget her and move on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful message! There's another comment about forgiveness that C.S. Lewis wrote, “To forgive for the moment [may not be] difficult, but to go on forgiving, to forgive the same offense every time it recurs to the memory -- that’s the real tussle.” The finishing of the process of forgiveness is a life work. (I can attest to that!)

Forgiveness isn't a one-time event, but an ongoing process that God uses to keep me aware of my own shortcomings and dependence on Him!

Blogger carlamom said...

Dear Zoe,
I needed to read and hear what you shared today. My heart just hurt reading it, and I am so glad you are choosing to forgive.
Years ago God showed me what to do when others hurt or offended me or someone I loved(even harder): I must BLESS them. Everytime a remembrance or hurt resurfaced in my mind or a new one occurred, I needed to beg God to bless them.
The last breakthrough of prayer blessing was the last winter. I was called by God to bless someone who had deliberately rejected and hurt someone very dear to me and myself for years. I spent almost one week fervently calling out to God to bless that individual. Well, God did, and that hate-filled individual called up the person I loved and told them they loved them! The first time in years. In the middle of the day! It was a miracle!
Over the years, I have seen people transformed by asking God's blessing on them. He knows perfectly where they need to be changed and set free...to be blessed.
I am asking God to bless your friend...and YOU, Zoe, as you are obeying!
You've blessed me.
PS As you bless them, the hurt drops away and you are free to care and love about them at a new level.

Blogger Shari Braendel said...

Hey girlfriend, I loved reading all the responses you got today from your readers...they are sooo heartfelt and loving. As for me, I wanted to just come over to your house and say, "hey, let's go find her and beat her up!" Heheh! I'm so glad you having loving readers so they talked me out of it! Hahah! love you friend, thanks for being so transparent.

Blogger Joyful said...

Oh Zoe, I can so relate to this post and your devotional today. I had a friend who very recently, out of the blue, sent me a message saying her life was getting busy and it was nice to have been my friend, but basically it was saying "goodbye". I tried contacting her three times as I felt something must have happened. We were very close. You know, one of those friends who messages you, calls you, we'd walk together of an evening, just really enjoyed each other's company...at least I thought we did. She never responded to any of my messages. I hate just letting this friend disappear from my life...we go back a long way, but I've really tried to connect and I've told her I'm so sorry for whatever happened...it was not intentional.

I was encouraged recently while attending a Beth Moore "Retreat in a Box" seminar. Beth was talking about relationships. She said sometimes, when we've done all we can to bring healing in a friendship and the other person refuses to accept our offer of forgiveness, that maybe it is God's desire to see that relationship end. We need to just trust Him with that after we've tried to bring restoration. Maybe He is saving us from a friendship that would not be beneficial for us. Just a thought.

Two of my favourite forgiveness quotes:

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." Lewis Smedes

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." Mark Twain

Trust your weekend is going well. It's Thanksgiving weekend here. Thanking the Lord for you!
Hugs,
Joy

Blogger sagreen125 said...

I was on the same side as you, when I tried to talk to the person who hurt me, she did not care. Didn't want to acknowledge how she lied to me and when I told her how hurt I was, she didn't understand. I have spent many hours and feel like my part of forgiving this friend is there. This involved something bigger.
A part was that God seemed to be less evident.
I also was on the side where something I said hurt my own sister, and was not mean. But she took it wrong.
We talked it out, sharing some other things. She has stepped away from the Lord.
I have to give her room. At least she will still talk when is needed.
I think the biggest thing with christian friends I see, is that the Lord is doing something in their lives, and they don't see exactly
It isn't easy, but forgiveness is always for our benefit

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great devotion. I love the Forgiveness is like spinach, also. Boy will I remember that:) I had my feelings hurt by a coworker this past week. We did talk about it later in the week. Oh how much easier it is to forgive when they are willing to accept it and talk with you. I pray that your friendship will be restored. That she will open up and share with you. What a testimony for you to forgive and to continue to pray for her. Thanks for sharing.
Angela

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe,

What a powerful message you have shared, and how brave the Spirit has made you to share your personal story.

The forgiveness I must muster is not for a girlfriend, but for a husband of 26 years. I have been asking, out loud, to God, just what am I supposed to do, forgive him for every little thing and just forget about it all?

Maybe that's exactly what I am supposed to do.

You've given me plenty of thoughts to "chew" on, and they're tasting more like spinach all the time!
Perhaps the taste is a little bitter, but it sure would be good for me to let this all go.

Blessings

Anonymous Hope said...

Zoe -- what a wonderful devotional. I met you in 2007 at the first dinner of the She Speaks conference that year, and what you said that night has stayed with me: We are all sisters in Christ and are going to spend an eternity together, so we might as well start getting to know each other now!
Forgiving our friends who hurt us can be so difficult, but knowing that we'll be spending an eternity together should help remind us why it's so important to do that hard work here on earth.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart is heavy to read so many similar stories in your comments. I, too, was stunned and bewildered when a precious friend announced she was ending our friendship and refused to talk to me. After many attempts to apologize for whatever I did and many attempts to have a more healthy situation, things never changed.

When I found Psalm 55:12-14, it was as if I finally found someone who understood... "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God."

While I no longer desire a close relationship with her, it does still break my heart that there is a such a huge, ugly divide between two Christian women who once loved each other dearly. I continue to pray --not for restoration, but reconciliation. I don't think I'll ever understand it, but I have found the freedom and peace that comes with forgiveness.

The situation has caused me to grow stronger and closer to my God. And has shown me the kind of "friend" I never want to be. ;) Praying you are surrounded by close, true, faithful, loving friends in the months and years to come.

Anonymous EncourageMentor said...

Thank you Zoe for your post. My husband has stage 4 brain cancer and over the last 20 months I struggled to forgive him for "leaving me". I felt abandoned and unprepared for the challenges and responsibilities that were placed on my lap. Thank God through His loving care and encouragement through His Word that I was able to forgive. Forgive myself for guilty and unfounded thoughts. My husband didn't leave me --he just passed the baton. The Lord equipped me to run with that baton and I am a stronger person for that!

Blogger PrairieMom said...

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt, heartwrenching story from your life experience.

I understand what you went through and recognize the need for forgiveness and to GIVE forgiveness.

Sometimes I feel like the joy I have in my life bubbles over on to others and isn't received right for whatever reason.
And, on the other hand, because I choose to deflect gossip or refuse to be chatty, many women see that as a lack of being intimate or not
being sensitive.

sigh...

I've even been "fired" as a friend, even after forgiving them and asking for forgiveness.

I finally came to understand that God puts people in your life for a season and we learn from each friendship how to be more like HIM.

Blogger Denny said...

Zoe, Princess, though you may have already moved on from your experience with your friend, in completing the lesson (just today), I found a couple more quotes which may help you further with understanding what may have been in your friend's heart and mind.
Eric Hoffer says: "The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves."
And Jessamyn West said: "It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own."
"70 X 7" may have meant to be an uncalcuable number, but our sophistication realizes, Jesus just meant, too many to count!
As a last comment, this computer has been very unforgiving, but it is not human, or under God's domain!
Love to all, Denise

OpenID pawpawandmango said...

I love this devotional! I can only imagine your shock and pain Zoe, I do think it is possible your friend has some issues she's dealing with personally.
I recently had to part ways with a friend of 12years plus. Nothing about her changed, rather it was me who changed. Having been through a major trial over the last two years, I realised that my outlook on life had changed a lot too. One way was having a reduced tolerance for certain attitudes. For years I had tolerated her embarassing jokes about me, constant criticisms about EVERYTHING I did and put-downs, all done in jest so it all seemed like a harmless joke. My trial caused me to pick myself up and start moving forward and exceling in all God had planned for me. This included taking stock and realising that too much time was spent praying for forgiveness over negative or unkind thoughts towards her. It made more sense to remove the source, so I did. We still talk but now but only very ocassionally. Works well for me as I can now pray over other issues plus I have more energy and zest for life! I wrote a piece about the end of our friendship here: http://pawpawandmango.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/friendships-soured/

I also put the pieces together and realised that she may have some insecurity issues, not necessarily with me but within herself, which manifests in her relationship with others including her family.

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