by Jerry Ousley
There it was – The entire truth of the matter!  I thought I had done it already and that it was forever in the past and then once again there it was staring me right in the face and it wasn’t pretty.  I’m talking about forgiveness.  A man, well, a minister, had done not only my family wrong but several families.  He had started a new church on the heels of problems in the old one that many of us had attended.  There were hurt feelings and deep wounds.  In the middle of all of that this man called several of us and told us that he felt led of the Lord to begin a new independent church.  After leaving the old one Deb and I, along with several other couples, were in a dilemma as to where we were to go.  This seemed to be the answer.


This minister had secured a little block building just large enough in which to hold services and we had some very good ones.  It seemed like God had brought us home.  Things were going very well and we were satisfied.  As the congregation began to grow the minister felt the need to purchase some land and build a new building; one large enough to accommodate a growing congregation.  Ground was broken and a foundation was laid.  Everything was going great.


Then it happened.  It was discovered that this minister was accepting offerings to pay for the new building and we were led to believe that it was all in the name of the congregation.  But we found out that it was all in his name.  He was the owner, lock, stock and barrel.  This wouldn’t have been so bad except that it gave him control and things began going his way only.  When confronted we were told that it was his way or the highway.   We took the highway and once again found ourselves in the middle of a deeply painful split.  It wasn’t what we wanted.  We were hurt and felt anger and contempt directed at this minister.


Time passed, we all found new congregations to be a part of, some going one way and some another.  We had prayed asking God to forgive us and to help us to forgive this minister, and, I’ll speak for myself, I thought I had.  I really believed that it was over and all was forgiven, until we were eating at a certain restaurant when low and behold, in walked this man.  One look at him and all those negative feelings came rushing back in.  To face the truth of the matter there was only one conclusion:  I really hadn’t forgiven him.  I thought I had.  I had gone through the motions and done everything I thought I was supposed to do but right then I knew that I had done just that – Only gone through the motions.


The Lord spoke to my heart and I began to let those negative feelings slip away.  I determined that this was the day that things were going to be made right one way or another and so I rose up and went to the table where he sat.  I spoke for a bit and discovered that he was having some health conditions and I told him that I’d be praying for him.  You know what?  That was when true forgiveness took place.  I meant what I had said and I did pray for him and from that day on I knew that I had forgiven him.  It was tested several times over the years when from out of nowhere he’d show up.  I knew that forgiveness had taken place because those negative emotions never rose up again.


When things like this happen in our lives one of the most common responses we hear is, “Just turn it over to God.”  Yeah, right!  That’s easy to say but a whole-nother matter to accomplish!  We want to do that; we desire to give it away, but it just seems like it we can’t let loose.  There are several things that must take place before we have really given a situation over to the Lord, the first of which is to genuinely forgive.  I’m not just talking about mouthing words and then going out and talking about that person, but knowing in our hearts that we have forgiven – Really forgiven, and the situation has been released out of our lives.


That doesn’t mean that we approve of what the other person has done.  But it does mean that we don’t feel that rush of anger, hurt, and wrath when we catch sight of them again.  There’s a scripture that we’ll talk about more that is the basis for turning something over to God.  It’s found in Matthew 11:29-30:  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


Jerry D. Ousley is the author of �Soul Challenge�, �Soul Journey�, �Ordeal�, �The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional and his first novel �The Shoe Tree.�  Visit our website at to download these and more completely free of charge.

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