I have a new analogy…
–Forgiveness is like a self-tanner.–
For the last week, I’ve been using my favorite sunless tanning lotion, or what some call a “self-tanner.” When applied, it oxidizes and tints the skin a darker color. It makes one look like they’ve been somewhere tropical. The process is similar to what happens to an apple when it’s cut open and is exposed to the air.
It certainly hasn’t been tropical here, but having a little tint to my skin makes these 30-degree spring days a little more bearable. (Smile.)
The lotion I use isn’t an overnight-turn-dark kind of self-tanner. Mine works more subtly. Mid-week, I could see evidence of applying the lotion daily, as a beautiful, naturally-looking color was appearing. As I was applying it Saturday, this analogy came to me as I recalled the experience of a recent conversation.
When I answered the phone, I heard the heaviness in this person’s voice. That’s something I wouldn’t have heard a month ago, still reeling from raw, painful emotions. A month ago, I was failing through forgiveness of this individual. But as I listened, I reacted in a most unexpected way. I reacted with compassion, understanding, and yes, forgiveness.
If each thought that ran through my mind in that split-second had a voice, it would have been comical to hear them…
“Whoa! Wait a minute. I’m supposed to still be angry at this person. Why am I showing love?”
“Hello, Julie?? What are you doing? Remember how this person hurt you. Don’t be nice.”
“God, really? Could it be? Could this be forgiveness?”
And at that very moment, I realized I had turned a corner.
I had forgiven this person.
It was something I had been praying for… for months. I had asked God, repeatedly to help me forgive. I desired it to happen quickly, and since it didn’t, I was questioning if it ever would. I couldn’t have mustered it up within me on my own. It was bigger than what my heart could do.
In the middle of this phone call, the evidence of me daily asking God to help me forgive was appearing. It had seemed like my prayers were falling on deaf ears. But God was softening, molding, and changing my heart gradually. I wasn’t even consciously aware it was happening.
Kind of like my self-tanner…
My “tan” has appeared by applying my tanning lotion daily.
Forgiveness has appeared by applying prayer daily.
A **WOW!!** moment!
Friend, I am amazed. From this experience I have learned forgiveness will happen if we don’t tire of taking it to God. You may not even want to forgive at this point. I was there. But you know enough to know God desires you to forgive. He wants to free you from the hurt, the pain, the bitterness… in His time. And He will. Be patiently persistent.
I’m praying for you, as you seek God and trust Him. Keep praying. And if you’re doing the self-tanning thing too, may you be reminded of His faithfulness every time you apply your lotion! (Smile.)
God loves you!
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