Forgiveness has been an issue for me. I want it when I’ve done something wrong, but when someone hurts me, I’m not as eager to let it go. I may act like I’ve forgiven you, or even believe that I have, but it’s the letting go part I need to work on…
I harbor resentment. I think that is a protective mechanism we all share. It has been said, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
We don’t like to be hurt by others because, well, it hurts. Pain is something we are programmed to avoid. That make sense to our physical selves. We are careful when handling hot items, or going down stairs, to prevent physical injury, but when we are hurt by another’s actions or words, that pain isn’t as evident. We might pretend we weren’t hurt, but those wounds affect our heart, and that’s when the internal battle begins.
Satan would love nothing more than to convince us that the person who hurt us, doesn’t deserve our forgiveness. He will feed us lies and tell us we are somehow better than they are. He wants us to point the finger at others and forget to look at our own faults. We become arrogant and forget about grace.
It is because of grace that we have been set free. The gift of grace is an unmerited favor bestowed upon us when Jesus died for our sins. Our sins, not just my sins. None of us are perfect and none of us deserve forgiveness. We could never earn our salvation. It is only because of Jesus’s blood and sacrifice that our sins are forgiven.
In the movie, The Shack, the main character, Mack, struggles with forgiveness. Forgiveness for the way his father abused him as a child, and forgiveness for the murderer who killed his little girl. The Holy Spirit shows him what it looks like from God’s perspective by asking him to choose between his two remaining children, who would be saved and who would be condemned to hell. Mack can’t do this, and his answer was, “Take me instead! I will take their place.”
I would never promote allowing ourselves to be continually hurt by another person. That is abuse, and we do need to protect ourselves from that. I am saying, however, that there may be more behind why others hurt us. They may have built a wall of protection around their own fragile heart. Therefore they may lash out and hurt us, to keep from being hurt.
I am a work in progress. I struggle with letting go; letting go of resentment when someone hurts my feelings. I know I am super-sensitive, but I am trying to see others through the eyes of Jesus, and to not stand on the throne of condemnation.
2 Peter tells us that, “God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all come to repentance.”
If I had one thing to share with the world, it would be to forgive; and then, let it go. Do not harbor resentment. I believe if the world forgave each other daily, the way Jesus does, all of our conflicts would dissolve. There is nothing more refreshing than to know someone has forgiven you when you’ve hurt them, or when you don’t deserve it. When someone withholds forgiveness from you, it plants bitterness in both parties. These roots grow deep and strong, causing division, and hinders any spiritual growth.
Colossians 3: 12-13
“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Lord, I ask that you give me your heart and your eyes, so that I would be more forgiving, so that others would know, through me, your great love. I ask that I would let go of resentments and let your peace wash over me. Help me to let it go….. all of it. Amen.