FORGIVENESS. Just looking at the word, makes me want to pull back, or hide. I have a complicated relationship with forgiveness. I have no problem forgiving short, quick hurts that aren't really that big a deal in the scheme of things. But, when you ask me to forgive those deep, life changing hurts, the ones that still make you cry when you think about them. Yeah, that’s where things get rough.
Growing up, I have always been one of those people that can be upset for a minute, and then 10 minutes pass, and I’ve forgotten all about it. I get over things quickly. Well… little things. As far as big arguments, or hurts, those were locked in my heart. I kept them there for years. I started to create a wall around my heart, to protect it from getting hurt in the same way. When the person who had hurt my feelings would say something that hurt again, I would go into my room, shut my door, and repeatedly tell myself, “it didn’t hurt, remember you’re a rock, and it can’t hurt you.” This was a lie. Of course it hurt. Of course I was holding back tears. Of course I was repeating the hurtful phrase over and over again in my mind. But I wouldn’t ever say it out loud. I wanted to become numb to the pain so that it would stop hurting my heart. But the tighter I held onto my hurt, the more pain I experienced. This wasn’t healthy. Clearly, I had been hurt, but I refused to forgive the one who hurt me. Instead, I would replay instances in my mind over and over, and I would relive my hurt. Why? Because, I wanted to be reminded of the reason I was angry. I wanted to hold onto the hurt, because it kept the wall I built, strong. This only caused more problems.
I share this with you, because I have had difficult relationships. I refused to forgive because I wanted to cause the person the same pain, they had caused me. This only lead to a greater separation, and two broken hearts. There was no justice or freedom in this. I was captive to my hurts, and it was apparent in my relationships. Forgiveness starts with YOU. Nothing is going to change if you continue to hold on tighter to your hurt instead of releasing it to God. Holding tighter won’t heal your heart. Unforgiveness is a root that can damage your soul and your relationships. Jesus knows this, which is why he COMMANDS us to forgive. It is our duty. It is imperative. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. We can’t wait until we feel like forgiving, it will either be too late, or it will never come. We just need to do it. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s difficult, but we MUST forgive. Take an inventory of your heart. Is there unforgiveness? Release it to God. He wants to heal your broken heart, and restore you to who he’s created you to be.
To forgive others, we need to be reminded of the fact that we have been radically forgiven. We all deserved death, and yet God sent his only son to die in our place. The perfect son of God, dying for us. Do you know how much you have been forgiven? Live in that forgiveness. Once you can grab ahold of the forgiveness you’ve been given, it will be easier to extend it to those who have hurt you. Remember, we’re all hurting people. The person who hurt you, is probably hurting too. We aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. We live in a fallen world, where pain is present, and finds us. Forgiveness, is a beautiful thing. The freedom that you feel in God’s grace for you, is the same freedom you want others to live in when you forgive them for the pain they’ve caused. How can you move forward, when you continue to live in the hurt?
Write it out friend, and release it today. It’s a beautiful thing. Forgiveness isn’t saying it didn’t hurt, but rather, acknowledging the hurt, and choosing grace instead. God will do something radical. He has already begun to, in my heart.