When I'm preparing to do a painting sometimes I don't know what I am going to do until it's crunch time. Well, last night was crunch time for me. I have had many things going on and Sunday service was one of those things. We already had a few lunch meetings prior to this service. Some of the things we discussed was the process of forgiveness and what does it look like visually. How can we help encourage people to forgive the acts that others have done against them or their loved ones. What can we do as a church body help move people in the right direction? Forgiveness, for me, is a repetitive act. Something that I choose to do. Some days its easy for me to forgive and others its almost impossible to not want to smash someones face in. I am the type of person that will take the punches for as long as I can until I feel like an erupting volcano.
I started by priming the canvas black because I wanted to be able to write white words on the canvas. As I was in my garage at around 12am I was hit with the thought of doing a dialogue with God on the canvas. It's o.k. to ask questions to God, but when we let those unanswered questions the reason we don't forgive it creates a bitterness that pushes us away from the love that Christ offers on the cross. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We love because he first loved us. The chains of bitterness is what holds us back from ever having freedom from our past. The people that have hurt us, rejected us, taken advantage of us, aren't the ones that are holding us back from having a loving relationship with Jesus. It is ourselves. The enemy can't make us suffer for eternity. Now, I can't even begin to relate to what some of you have had to endure and the suffering that you have been through. But that is why Christ came as a man to suffer the ultimate price to make a way through this dark mess of a world.
As I got up on stage I felt heavy and was praying that the Holy Spirit would break the chains of bitterness today. I think that happened. I began painting words such as, "Why Me?" "I will never let go." "How could you do that?" "You owe me." And painted chains next to them. I then began the process of making the choice of forgiveness. I painted white over the questions that we hold on to and flipped the canvas to write out over and over different things that we have to forgive. Our parents, our brothers and sisters, our teachers, our coaches, the church, our enemies, or coworkers, our wives, our husbands, etc. this is what leads us to waking up each day and saying, "I Forgive."
It was an interesting process for me because I just used one canvas for both services. I painted over the original words of forgiveness in an act for myself to come back to those things and forgive them over and over and over again. They only lasted for minutes and again I had to do it all over again. Just as I will have to do tomorrow and the next day.
If you are reading this and you haven't forgiven something or someone I hope that you ask God to help you forgive. "I believe, help my unbelief." "Teach me to pray for I don't know how to pray." We have to constantly reach out and ask for the strength to forgive. We have to make that choice. If you ever want to talk about something I am open to messages. I am no professional or coun elder but I hope that this image and the thought behind it can help you with unforgiveness.