Spring Into New Beginnings
Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any fail of the grace of God, or lest any root of bitterness springing up disturb you, and by it many are defiled (Hebrews 12:14, 15).
Spring is my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of fresh flowers, the warmth of the sun as it greets a new day, and the excitement of new beginnings found in nature all around me. In the spring, I feel like I can do almost anything. It is a time of forgetting the past, leaving winter behind, and looking forward to the future with renewed energy.
Today becomes the by-word. Yesterday is gone and I cannot change it. Tomorrow is only a hope, not even a promise, but today, today is mine. Today I can start that diet, write that letter, send a card to a friend, and take my granddaughter to lunch. Today I can put into motion all those wonderful ‘what-ifs’ that have been niggling in the outer edges of my mind. Today I begin again.
Spring is a time for forgiveness and for change. Beginning again implies we failed the first time and maybe a second, third or more. But, in the spring all that is forgotten and there is renewed hope; possibilities are endless.
To harness all the energy that comes with this season requires commitment on my part. I must be willing to put the past behind me, forgive myself and anyone else involved in my failures, and look forward. That is not always easy for our weak human nature. Jesus is the ultimate example of forgiveness. He forgave me as he has forgiven millions of others for dreadful deeds.
If Jesus can suffer the shame of the cross, and love us while doing it, why do we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves and one another?
Un-forgiveness is the acid that eats away our hopes. How can we hope to move forward if we are chained to the past by bitterness and un-forgiveness? Families that learn the art of forgiving can be a positive influence anywhere. Families, who harbor grudges, refusing to see the other person’s side, live in anger, hate, and bitterness that, by its very nature, will destroy them.
Learning to live a life of forgiveness is not easy. It requires a lot of pain and struggle. People hurt us, both intentionally and unintentionally. We must remember that they, and they alone, will answer to God for their actions. We will account for our own. When we trust God to keep score, our minds are free to do other more productive things. We can concentrate on the important things in life with fewer lines and wrinkles.
While learning the art of forgiving others, we must not forget that it is just as important to learn to forgive ourselves. We all make mistakes, have regrets, and hurt others. We fail, grow weary, and even undependable at times, but we must accept that weakness, strive to overcome it, and move forward.
Forgiveness brings change. By choosing to forgive, we choose life, and set in motion all those wonderful things found on a beautiful spring day.
Closing Prayer: Father, search my heart to root out all seeds of bitterness and anger that I may feel against another. Remind me daily that my brothers and sisters are Your children and that Your Son died for them as well as for me. If there is a hidden root help me to destroy it that it can never spring to life again. Let my life reflect Your love and mercy to everyone I meet that I can glorify You in everything.
Closing Thought: Has someone caused you suffering in your life that you just can’t bring yourself to forgive? Do you tell yourself that they had no right and to forgive them will only make you appear weak? Not so. To forgive is the only way for you to gain the spiritual strength you are seeking from God. To not forgive weighs on you like a heavy stone around your neck. When you release this person in forgiveness, you release yourself as well.