Raise your hand if you have ever said something like this:
I refuse to move forward until I get an apology.
I don’t know about you, but my hand is definitely up.

When we hold tightly to an offense, we might as well go find a deep pool of quicksand and stand in that. We wonder why we aren’t growing and why God is not moving us to the next season of our life.  We think we are ready.  We have checked all of the boxes required to finish one chapter and move to the next.

We tell ourselves that some sort of justice will be served if we hold on to that particular offense.
And that the person who caused us pain is receiving some sort of a penalty they deserve.
The truth is we are receiving ZERO justice. However, rest assured, you are receiving all of the heavy emotional, physical, and spiritual effects that the weight of resentment carries with it.

We forgive NOT because someone deserves to be forgiven.
We forgive because God wants us to be FREE.
It is why He said to forgive over and over.
Because He knew that if we didn’t, we would get stuck in the quicksand of offense.

Forgiveness doesn’t justify what somebody did to you.
It doesn’t say that your heart wasn’t broken or deeply hurt. It is simply saying I can no longer carry this or allow this to define who I am or who I will become.

We have done this exercise a couple of times at Rustic Cuff and it has proven to be one of the keys to unlock the next season in so many of our lives. I hand out a piece of paper to each person and ask them to think of someone that comes to mind in their life that disappointed, offended, or hurt them.  We write the name or names on the piece of paper.

It can be anyone, anywhere.
Even someone who has no idea they hurt you.
It can go back to the third grade or it can be as recent as that day.

There is a paper shredder at the front of the room.
And one by one we take that paper with the name on it and shred it…as if to say,

I let this go.
Without an apology.
Even without an explanation.
I forgive.
As I have been forgiven.
Of so very much.

Oh the power of a paper shredder.
But even greater…the freeing power of forgiveness.