There are times for me (and I know for everyone else too) when thoughts just keep coming of negative things that people have said.

Sometimes it’s easy to ignore.  Sometimes it’s not so easy.  Sometimes it’s from people who should know me better.  Sometimes it’s from people who don’t  know me at all; so how could they think such things?

Sometimes the thoughts are easy to forgive and move on from.  Sometimes the thoughts just keep coming.  Memories of negative words meant to pick away at my self-esteem and confidence.  Words aimed at causing strife and stealing my peace.

Stealing peace.  The Bible says that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Stealing my thoughts, killing my confidence, and destroying my peace.  That’s not acceptable.

Sometimes I almost forget that God can understand.  Sometimes God being in Heaven seems so far away from day-to-day life here.  But, when Jesus was here, he had strangers say horrible things about him and accuse him of motives that weren’t anything he would ever do.  He had family scoff at him.  He had people he grew up with call him a liar.  And he had friends, who walked with him every day, not stand up for him when it was important.  And when Jesus died, he said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”.

He wasn’t mad.  He wasn’t hurt and self-conscious.  He wasn’t vengeful.  He didn’t let their words knock him down.  He didn’t let their actions kill his peace.  In fact, not only did he not turn bitter from the way he was treated; he prayed for these people.  He asked God to have forgiveness for them.  And he recognized a great thing – the people couldn’t see the big picture of what they were doing.

I’ve done a lot of praying today.  There are people who I am still working on forgiving.  Forgiveness brings peace.  And the people that have said things about me, they don’t know the big picture.  Their words were thrown about, without thought of what they would do to another person.

God gave us a great power when he gave us the choice to forgive someone.  Negative words and actions against me could make me a prisoner for life inside myself.  But I choose a different path.  It was easier to pray today, remembering that Jesus has been in this situation.  He has been in this situation times a million.  He understands.  He knows how hard it is to forgive someone who was never sorry.  He knows because he’s done it.

Tonight I am thankful for the chance to choose peace, forgiveness, and love.  Sometimes when life is going good, thoughts come to try to steal the goodness.  I am thankful that we have the gift to choose a different path.  And I will continue to make this choice anytime these thoughts come.  I will not be a prisoner to past words said.

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