About three years ago, I found myself waiting to exhale because of the unprecedented attacks I endured in the workplace. Stress began to turn into distress, and I repeatedly asked myself, “What am I going to do?” Each time, the answer to my question was, “…be gracious and forgive.” I was in no mood to be gracious to anyone (outside of my immediate family) – definitely, not to give forgiveness. Yet, I knew that I had to deal with my thoughts and emotions before the roots of bitterness took root.
In bygone years, I allowed bitter roots to grow in me. Those years of deep-rooted resentment were hard to bear because the anger was poisonous to my entire being. It was paramount for me to change my life because the unresolved emotions affected my relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and myself. I decided to pray for the grace to help me forgive the offenders: “…[come] to the throne of grace…find mercy and grace to help when we need it most” Hebrews 4:16 (Voice). I needed God’s help, and He helped me; the work of grace purged resentment from my life. Hallelujah!
As I stated earlier in this blog: three years ago, I found myself dealing with the same old issues, just with new faces: false accusation, deliberate misrepresentation, and constant criticism. And as if I had never had a lesson in forgiveness, all my emotions were at DEFCON One; and all I wanted to see were the heads of the offenders rolling past me. Instead, the offenders seemed to have the upper hand for various reasons: their misconduct was defended, while I was chided. Even at the writing of this blog, words fail to describe, adequately, what I felt inside. Nightly, I would complain and cry to my husband about the injustice. What a wonderful husband I have because in my pain as my husband, he comforted me; as my spiritual mentor, he instructed me; as my friend, he supported me.
Once again, I had to revisit the lesson of forgiveness. Just a side note, to forgive is not always an easy thing to do. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, [e]stablish, strengthen, settle you. ” 1 Peter 5:10 (KJVS) Those words brought comfort to my heart: God will restore me, support me, and confirm me after trying times. As that truth took control of my thoughts, compassion and forgiveness replaced my emotional demands for judgment and revenge.
I know that I am not the source of grace; I am a vessel of honor for the GOD of all grace to use my life to make the world a better place. “If a man therefore purge himself… he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” 2 Timothy 2:21(King James Version).
One way to purge oneself is to let go of un-forgiveness. That is what I did; I allowed God’s grace to flow through me to my offenders. I repeat that to let go of the pains of injustice is not easy. It took the work of grace in my heart to walk in the grace of forgiveness.
Not being a resentful person consumed by anger is essential in making the world a better place. Remember, the God of all grace will help you with whatever challenges you are experiencing.
Loretta Huggins, born and raised in San Francisco, CA, has served in the ministry with her husband, Larry Huggins since 1989: administrator, hostess, event planner, and teacher. She has traveled to eighteen countries. She is the co-founder and co-pastor of ZChurch.