Lemons and Forgiveness: You can’t exercise forgiveness until you’ve been wronged
I love lemonade… lemons, not so much. These days, there are a lot of lemon-flavored things: Lemon Bars. Lemon Cake. Lemon Cookies. Lemon-Scented Candles. Lemons, Lemons, Lemons.
Life is a lot like lemons. That’s what people say right? “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” My only addition to that statement would be this, “Prior to squeezing the juice out of the lemon, be sure the lemons are nice and ripe”. Lemons have to be mature and if you don’t grab them at the right time, they become over ripe and sour, bitter or tart. There are incredible similarities between lemons and forgiveness.
You can’t exercise forgiveness until you’ve been wronged, and if you wait too long, you become sour and bitter just like the lemon. There is a season when our lives are “ripe” for healing and forgiveness. But it doesn’t all happen at the same time.
The spiritual path and the emotional path don’t travel at the same distance at the same speed. Just like the fruit on the lemon tree doesn’t all ripen at the same time. Some of the fruit enters its season faster than others. If you are in a season where you feel like you have expressed forgiveness on a spiritual level but not yet on an emotional level, rest assured you are not alone. It may take a little longer to process through your emotions than it did for you to accept God’s forgiveness in your own life.
In my life, lemonade brings me peace and happiness. The same is true for forgiveness. It leads me out of despair and into joyfulness. It makes life less emotionally draining. It lifts my spirit and sets me free from the oppression of bitterness, anger, hatred and other secondary negative emotions.
The apostle Paul had this to say about forgiveness, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:13).
As we leave 2020 behind, a year filled with so much anger, resentment, depression, uncertainty, loneliness, unrest, hurts and fears; let’s approach 2021 with a clean slate of forgiveness that “picked” at just the right time, can provide us with a sweet sense of hope for a bright future!
Doug Boyd is senior pastor for Parkside Fellowship located at 5755 SW Erickson Ave in Beaverton. Call (503) 646-4455 or find out more by visiting parksidefellowship.org