I just learned something kind of fascinating when I was looking for today’s Scripture reference. The Bible translation I’m using has “abandon” in it 33 times. Six times it assures us that God will not abandon those who love him. The other 27 refer to people abandoning things: the Lord, the land, the law, other people, cities, highways, covenants, counsel, tents, horses, donkeys, camps, commandments, the poor.
When I chose abandonment for this study, I planned to talk about the experience of feeling abandoned, and my need to forgive because of it. Instead, my scan of the Scriptures has led me to the epiphany that people are simply prolific abandoners. Me included.
What have I abandoned? I’ve abandoned hope, faith, and love. I’ve abandoned people, places, and responsibilities. I’ve abandoned determination, ethics, and even honesty. I’ve abandoned honor for expediency, truth in favor of intrigue, the long run so I could grab at some fleeting pleasure.
Conversely, I have held onto long, powerful, visceral grudges.
I’ve also clung to wrong views of myself and others.
And I’ve cherished self-interest and self-aggrandizement and self-promotion.
To abandon means to give up completely: desert, discontinue, renounce.
I’ve gotten so much about abandonment backwards. I embrace what destroys and reject what heals. I’ve got to get my abandonment issues reconfigured. I’m going to start with letting go of—forgiving—the stuff I’ve clung to way too long.
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“I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies. – Jeremiah 12:7
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God, I choose to abandon unforgiveness. Right now, today, this minute. Whatever I’ve held onto that’s unhealthy, ungodly, and unworthy, I open both my fists and let it go. (Geez, it’s really sticky, isn’t it?) Okay, I fling it out of my hands. (Ugh. It’s like mud. Or slime. Or booge—sorry, inappropriate.) Wash my hands, Lord. I hold them up to you and ask that you would wash them clean with your blood and your Spirit. I want this stuff gone. Thank you that you’ve made a way for that to be possible. Clean hands and a pure heart, God. That’s what I want.
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With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Amazon.com. Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.