“Priming the pump” is an old phrase that referred to preparing an old pump to deliver water. A suction valve had to be primed with water so that the pump would function properly. To prime something is to use a substance that prepares something for its intended use. I do not have experience with priming old pumps, but I do have experience with my own personal pump not functioning the way it was intended-my heart! It’s just like God to know when there’s a block in the main valve that’s hindering the pump from functioning at maximum capacity, and so it was in my case-the diagnosis: LOF (Lack of Forgiveness).
It’s been an eventful few months in the Krug household. I don’t use the word eventful to describe the fun we’ve had-completely the opposite. Many changes have take place over these last few month, and because I am a creature of habit, more than one change is one too many for me! So, you can imagine my brain overload when the Lord had us sell our home (not knowing where we would go), close our business of 12 years and start over. We definitely had some things that needed a “do over.” Unfortunately, we don’t get do overs in this life, but what we do get is GRACE to begin again.
After 21 years of marriage, two kids, a dog, and more than one fight, my internal gauges were signally an extremely hot engine- And, because God knows exactly when, where, and how I need to hear and see those things in my life that need addressing, he would send a man of God to confront an issue that I had tucked down deep in my heart. That issue would be a heart (or a pump if you will) tangled in unforgiveness, wrapped in anger and rooted in fear.
Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things (aside from love and pray for your enemies) that the Lord asks us to do as Christians. Forgiveness is not a one-stop-shop on the road to heaven. Forgiveness is process that starts with a decision and continues daily with a renewed mind and an open heart. My mind had become cluttered with confusion and my heart had been hardened by hatred.
As mentioned earlier, the Lord sent a man to me with a message the Lord had given him in picture form. Because I am a very visual learner it was no coincidence that the Lord gave him a picture to paint for me that would bring me to a fork in the road…forgive or hold on to the hurt-which way would I turn? As he explained what the Lord showed him, he gave me two words judgment and justice, and then spoke these words, “you have a high justice meter.” I never connected justice and judgment to forgiveness but as God would soon reveal to me, these two words were keeping me from total forgiveness.
I had to remind myself what forgiveness was and was not. Forgiveness was not condoning the behavior of the one that hurt me. Forgiveness was not giving that person permission to repeat the behavior that caused the hurt. Forgiveness was not forgetting what was done to me. And finally forgiveness would not always lead to restoration and trust restored.
Forgiveness is…taking the person that hurt me off my hook and placing them on God’s. Forgiveness is choosing to let go of the offense and release the one that hurt me into God’s hands- HE would be the judge and the jury. This is where those two powerful words judge and justice flashed in my mind like a no-vacancy sign. I will never be able to totally forgive another if I am sitting on the judgment seat. I began to realize I was the one deciding what would be forgiven and what was too big to forgive. Like many, I wanted justice for the wrong done to me. I wanted the person to know how bad they have hurt me. I was seeking retribution when I needed to be seeking redemption. My own sin of judgment was blocking the truth that was needed to prime the pump of forgiveness in my heart.
There is only ONE that judges fairly and will give each what he/she deserves. Job 34:11; Romans 2:6, Romans 12:19 It’s hard to grasp the truth that God forgives all our sins, past, present and future. He does not keep a list of our mistakes or require payment for our sins. God’s forgiveness is unconditional and is based on his unconditional love for us.
For the last year I have strained and struggled to hold on to a 21-year marriage that has been wrecked by betrayal and mangled in anger. I have kept a hidden list in my heart of all the hurt inflicted throughout the years. At times I chose to forgive certain things, but most times I chose to harbor the hurt and use it as a weapon at a later date. I never felt God releasing me from this marriage, but I have felt his gentle nudge asking me to release my husband into his hands.
God is the only one that can judge fairly. James 4:12, Psalm 7:11 I am still in the process of totally forgiving, and with God’s help I will continue to choose his way over my will daily. I will take my place at the foot of the cross, not on the seat of judgment. The only way that I can truly forgive is to relinquish control to the ONE that’s in control. He is the only one that can change the heart of another. My struggle to hang on was just another attempt to control my circumstances and those around me. Fear tells me to squeeze tighter, but Faith tells me to release completely.
My heart has been broken, my tears are still fresh, and my faith is a bit shaky, but I will not stop trusting God to bring about good in the face of evil. I have seen my share of evil, and far too many times it has caused me to fear instead of face it head on with my shield of faith. I catch myself asking the same questions that the Israelites asked when wandering in the wilderness. Faced with uncertainty and circumstances that were not playing out the way they had envisioned, they called in to question their journey on the way to their destiny. “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11) We all know the story-God led them through the wilderness to test them and to reveal what was churning in their hearts.
What is churning in your heart that could be blocking the flow of freedom?
Forgiveness won’t be complete in a day, but a day is all it takes to make the choice to forgive. I have made the choice to forgive and I am committed to allowing God to prime my pump daily with his Grace and Mercy so that faith, forgiveness and freedom can flow freely.
“I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13