Forgive to Live_06

If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome! I’m so glad you are here. Today’s devo covered a tough topic, but when you’ve been impacted by evil, you need space to be able to talk about it in light of faith.

In The Unburdened Heart, I share this (page 166):

If you have encountered evil, though few may understand what you’ve faced, God feels sorrow that it took place. If there are people who have told you that what happened to you is God’s will, or that somehow the end result was that God would somehow receive the glory, please understand this:

The evil one’s purpose has never been for God to shine.

Your Heavenly Father grieves over the pain you suffered, so much so that your Savior walked up the road willingly with stripes on His back, wore a crown of thorns pressed into His brow and suffered death on a cruel cross to offer healing and restoration. Sin and the plans of the evil one make Him righteously angry.

A few weeks ago I shared Liz’s story. She and her family were impacted by an evil act by someone they trusted.

She had a choice. Personal tragedy could make her bitter or better. 

When someone hurts your child, bitter seems like a natural choice.

But what Liz shared through her example is that forgiving was not allowing evil to continue, but it was also a choice to let God be angry for her.

There is legal justice. She is protecting and advocating for her child, and protecting future children from harm.

But choosing better meant that anger and bitterness isn’t going to be her new identity due to the choice of another. That’s powerful!

It’s also very hard, which is why better is a supernatural response. It’s bigger than we are capable of. God can do a work in your heart that makes no sense in relation to the circumstances.

When you choose better in an instance like this, those who look to you find a fierce, strong woman of faith who has been battered, but not broken. Afflicted by not crushed. Perplexed but not in despair. (2nd Corinthians 4:8)

When I talked with Liz face to face, she was all of those things — battered, afflicted, perplexed, still in the midst of a trial, pulled in different directions by loved ones who wanted her to pretend it didn’t happen.

She was also strong, resolute, joyful, and fully anchored in who she was to God.

If you are trying to move past the effect of evil on your heart or life, please understand:

#1 – You are not responsible to fix or bear the consequences of another’s sin.

That’s God’s job. Listen, God loves us all. So much so that He longs for those bound by sin to meet a wall of their own sin and kneel at the cross to find deliverance and wholeness.

When people say, “If you really want to forgive, just let them go. Release them from their sin,” it fails to consider that God loves us all so much that He longs for those bound by sin to meet a wall of their own sin and kneel at the cross to find deliverance, wholeness, and a new path.

As you allow God to be angry for you, it allows His righteous response — to both be grieved by the sin and pursue the sinner, to lift a burden you were never intended to carry.

#2 – It’s time to forgive so you can live

What might happen to that person or event that impacted such evil? I’m not sure, but while that unfolds we surrender our thoughts, our hearts, our family, our life to a God who loves us, living free of the burden of revenge or bitterness. Keeping our heart open to the path God takes us through this extremely harder path of our faith.

TheUnburdenedHeart_largeToday we are offering a giveaway of my book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.

I’ll choose one winner randomly from the comments below. Please feel free to share your prayer requests, your questions, your thoughts about today’s topic.

Read Chapter One for free! or share it with a friend.

This is what some are saying about The Unburdened Heart, and how it helped them find freedom, even when impacted by evil:

I highly recommend this book to ANYONE who has struggled with forgiveness. I’ve read many books, but none quite like this. It has changed my life. You will read it once, and then over and over again. You will cry as you discover that your wounds (as deep as they may be) can be healed!  Jacqueline

When I picked up The Unburdened Heart I worried that it was just another “feel good” book about forgiving others. Halfway through the first chapter I knew my worries were unfounded. Suzie has made forgiveness real in an honest, raw way. Her approach to forgiveness of self and those who have hurt you, along with her step-by-step process, complete with definitions of the types of forgiveness, brought me to a place of healing. Michelle

 I have read this book twice now from cover to cover and I treasure this book! What a life changing message! I thank God for Suzie, for her compassion and wisdom and for being able to speak so gently about circumstances, events and persons that have negatively and tragically altered or impacted our lives in a manner that so many of us struggle to hide and cover up not only from ourselves, but from the rest of the world. The walls that I so carefully constructed around my heart over many years are now coming down and I am experiencing the freedom of an unburdened heart! Marilyn