Since writing “A New Creation,” two events have occurred in my life. First, our friends began renovating their “fixer-upper” house. Helping out one Saturday was a blast! Plastic lined everything; walls were torn down; dust settled. The hard work will continue over a couple of years, but the promise of the finished product makes it worthwhile. It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 3:18, that says in Christ we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”(NRSV).
Second, floodwaters belonging to the “hundred-year” Hurricane Harvey climbed the doorstep of my parents’ house in Houston. After the storm, bayous near my parents’ neighborhood overflowed. Mom and Dad moved furniture off the ground or into the second story. Their dog had nowhere dry to walk outside and was terrified of the powerful rains. One by one every house on their street took on water except for two. One of which miraculously belonged to my parents. For the houses that did flood, an inch to a foot of water was fortunate.
As the floodwaters receded, many houses sat for months in neglect waiting for repairs. Meanwhile, a new enemy appeared. Mold. One of the costliest fixes a house can require, mold caused many buildings to be torn down.
Mold reminds me of bitterness. Both begin when a wound, upon a person or house, is ignored. This allows toxic growth to flourish.
Part of our Christ-like transformation is following what Paul says in Colossians 3:13, “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Where mold can rob you of a home, bitterness refuses God’s commands and steals your joy. Removing both are costly. Forgiving another is especially painful if the offending party refuses to repent. Such broken relationships feel hopeless.
But praise God, for all things are possible with Jesus. Lack of money can halt mold remediation, but children of God never run out of “funds” to remove bitterness.
Easier said than done, right? But what a gift in contrast to feeling terrible inside.
As part of my Christian transformation, I do not want to live in unforgiveness anymore. I want to pray for help to forgive those who hurt me right away. I want to ask forgiveness for what I have done wrong, too.
When the offending party is unwilling to reconcile in Christ-like humility, forgiveness feels unfinished. However, even if they don’t ask for forgiveness, I can still follow Jesus’s example and tell God that I forgive them.
A house cleared of mold offers a safe place for people to live. May our hearts be continually cleansed with forgiveness so we, too, can offer good things to those we interact with. What a powerful gift! Let us cast our hurts onto God’s strong shoulders through forgiveness, and live in God’s amazing freedom.
You can connect with Katherine Briggs at katherinebriggs.com.