"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. " 1 Peter 1:3,4 ESV
Hello my friend. Today's blog post is a very personal one for me as I have a painful story to share.
This is a story of the struggle to forgive, the struggle to set aside my desire for justice, and the need to let go and let God. But mostly, this is a story of hope amidst the struggles we face when we become the unfortunate victims of injustice.
This story will speak to the anger, frustration and disappointment and desire for revenge that can overtake us when we feel we've been stripped of something that we may feel we've been entitled to at the hands of someone else.
My prayer is that this will help to bring you hope, clarity, and healing, my friend, if you are in any way struggling with feelings of hurt, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness because of a terrible hurt or injustice that you've experienced.
Have you ever had the rug pulled out from under you? Have you felt totally helpless and powerless against an unfair situation?
Frankly, it sucks! I'm not going to mince words here. The epic struggle with our thoughts, emotions, and yes, internal desire for revenge…well, lets just say that the struggle is real!
Anyway, it's been a difficult couple of years for me and my family; in particular, my siblings. And the story I am about to share has finally come to a conclusion, albeit not the one we had hoped and prayed for.
My dad passed away a couple of years ago after battling cancer and COPD for several years. The loss was painful and difficult for me, my brother and sister, and our families. As executors and heirs of our dad's fairly sizable estate, my siblings and I knew that there would be much work in attending to settling his estate. Our dad had made his final wishes very clear, not only through his last will and testament, but through many family meetings he arranged the past several years because he wanted to ensure his hard-earned legacy would go where he wanted; to his children.
"Whatever you do, please don't fight!" our dad cautioned. After all, how often do we hear of the grief and heartache that takes place among family members over an inheritance, siblings separated from one another, alienation, resentment, and bitterness between family members? My dad knew that all too often families become divided over money and possessions after the death of a loved one. My siblings and I, determined to not tread down the same destructive path, would always reassure him, "Dad, we've got this!"
Fast forward to present day. The good news is, my siblings and I have not fought with one another since our dad died, our families have actually grown closer. Yet, things are far from how we had planned or hoped they would be.
We ended up finding ourselves in the throes of the devastating effects borne of greed, dishonesty, slander, lies, theft of our family belongings, and the loss of much of our inheritance.
This greed, theft, and dishonesty, came through someone somewhat close to our father who we thought cared about,not only him, but our family as well. We thought that this person could be trusted. We couldn't have been more wrong and we quickly learned that a last will and testament is far from ironclad and that nothing in life is guaranteed, including our inheritance!
So there we were, we had lost our dad, and now, his final wishes had been trampled underfoot. We were powerless to carry out his final wishes; as his children and as executives of his estate. We felt as though we had been robbed of so much. "How could this person? This isn't fair! Where is the justice?" we cried.
Ahhhhhh justice! Mankind has an innate desire for justice. We all want what we feel is fair, we want justice! But justice, as my family and I had hoped and prayed for it to, did not prevail for us. Thanks to some screwy and outdated estate laws, we ended up losing precious family belongings and money that was intended for us.
When justice doesn't happen in our situations, it often brings forth a surge of emotions such as sadness, disappointment, disbelief, hurt and anger that courses through our veins threatening to drown us in a sea of anger, hopelessness, bitterness, and resentment. And believe me, my flesh was screaming for justice! For fairness to prevail, to emerge victorious in a court of law. As I said earlier, the struggle is real!
But here's the thing. I am not drowning! The sea may be raging, but I am staying afloat, by the grace of God! No, it hasn't been easy. I've struggled time and again, to overcome the emotions and ungodly thoughts that have threatened to ensnare me in their web of hate and bitterness. I have not overcome these emotions on my own. There has been a lot of crying out to God, who in His mercy has been faithfully guiding me back to Him whenever my emotions try and get the best of me. He has been my life raft, my anchor, my calm in the storm.
Throughout this storm, my Heavenly Father has been speaking to me about my inheritance. He's been lovingly and faithfully reminding me that the inheritance my family and I were expecting to receive from our earthly father is not the one I am to put my hopes in. The inheritance my dad tried to leave us is temporal, it is prone to decay, it is vulnerable to theft and greed. More importantly, it can never fulfill the needs of my soul.
My friend, our loving Heavenly Father, wants so much more for us than that! In fact, He has so much more in store for us than that! You see, gradually, God began showing me that I hadn't lost my inheritance. At least, not the one that truly matters, because there is another, much more important, inheritance at play here. God reminded me that, as his child, I am an heir of a much larger, more glorious inheritance, so much greater than that of my earthly father!
Yes, God promises us an inheritance much greater than that of any earthly father. The inheritance he leaves for us is incorruptible. It will not perish. It cannot be destroyed or taken away by somebody else and it's reserved in heaven for us, for you and me.
God's word tells us that as children of the Creator of the universe, we are promised to inherit not only eternal life in heaven, but we will inherit the entire universe as joint-heirs with Christ! 1 Peter 1:3,4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
That, dear reader, is our eternal hope when it seems as though there is no hope; an eternal, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance. One that we've done nothing to earn.
With my dad's inheritance, my siblings and I didn't do anything to earn it either. That was his money that he had worked hard for his whole life but my dad wanted us to have it because he loved his children. Even more so with God. We have this imperishable, undefiled, unfading inheritance reserved for us simply because we are His children and He loves us! God is so good!
I believe that what happened to our family was more about our spiritual walk and growth than it was about the person committing the grievous offense. I am having to learn, with God's help, to walk humbly and extend forgiveness and mercy in the same manner that my Heavenly Father does for me. It was extremely challenging, in the beginning, to pray for the salvation, forgiveness, and well being of this person, but God commands us to pray for our enemies. Even though I didn't want to, I began to pray for this person in spite of my feelings. Honestly, my prayers for this person were, in the beginning, merely words. I didn't truly feel in my heart what I was saying when I would pray for their well being, for their salvation, for me to be able to forgive them and not hold it against them. But God, in His faithfulness, has been softening my heart over time, and I find that now when I pray for this person my feelings are in agreement with my words.
Now please hear me here. I am not saying that I have completely conquered my feelings in all of this. Once in a while, Satan likes to remind me (especially when finances are tight) of what could have been had this person not gotten away with what's known as "legal theft." When this happens I am met with the temptation to revisit feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. It is then that I need to, once again, ask for God's help in extending forgiveness for this person.
I guess you could say that forgiveness is a journey. It's not necessarily a "one and done" thing. It may have to be offered up more than once, sometimes many times while our spirits are residing in fallen flesh.
Thankfully though, God's mercies are new every morning. He knows my desire to be pleasing to Him in all of this. I am His child and He has promised in His Word to be with His children in all of their trials and temptations. How truly rich I am! And if you are a true child of God as well......how rich you are!
Perhaps things may not have turned out as you have wanted in your life either. Perhaps you too, have had the rug pulled out from under you. Your hopes have been dashed or you've been the unfortunate recipient of the sinful actions of another and the justice that you desire has been out of your reach. If so, please know I am sorry that you are going through such a trial.
The truth is, God never promised that life would be easy. In fact, we will all suffer our share of disappointment, loss, betrayal, and grief. But like it or not, we are commanded as believers to respond in a manner that is totally against the way in which our flesh really craves and desires to respond.
As excruciatingly hard as it can be, there is hope. There is a promise that can compel us to overcome our flesh and cast aside the burden and poison of unforgivness, bitterness, and resentment. That is the promise of our Heavenly Father's inheritance. It's ironclad!
We are His and He is ours! What He offers us is beyond our human comprehension! This world has nothing to offer that can truly satisfy our souls deepest desires and needs. As God's word assures us, "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:16-18
My family and I learned that an earthly inheritance is not guaranteed, it can be lost. It can be stolen. Praise God that His inheritance can never be thwarted! It is mine, it is yours, now and forever!
May the truth of God's love for you, His promise of a glorious imperishable inheritance, keep your flame burning bright so you can go out there and shine God's light!
In what area are you struggling to let go and let God? Do you feel as though your hurt runs so deep that it's impossible to forgive?
How can the hope of God's inheritance change your perspective this week?
Leave a comment if you'd like and share your story!