Forgiveness. We love to receive it, but it’s so hard to give when we are the one who hurts. Instead we hold onto the offense nurturing the wound on a minute by minute schedule. We rehash the scene/words over and over and practice what we will say when next we meet the person. Quite a mini series playing out in our imagination. Oh yes, I have been there and done that too.
“And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. Matthew 6:12
Use the Key
The key to healing is forgiveness. Choosing not to allow the offense to fester, but rather to nip it in the bud. This had worked for me on many occasions, sparing me the pain of a rotting wound.
I have been on the receiving end and have also been the offender many times. Some offensives I have done on purpose (shocking I know). I have also been totally unaware that I had offended, but offend I did. Could it be that when I have been offended, the other person had no clue to the offense they had caused.
One such occasion comes to mind. I was already stressed; frazzled to be exact. I was sleep deprived and my skill set was stretched way outside its normal comfort zone. I was emotionally, mentally and physically spent while at the same time trying to cope with everyday life and look good doing it. It’s just like Satan to kick us when we are already feeling down.
I felt betrayed, but instead of forgiving on the spot, I busied myself with the task at hand. As I lay exhausted in my bed that night my mind replayed the scene. The already gut wrenching hurt increased with each negative thought.
Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22
By morning I had chosen to forgive, more out of obedience to the Lord than a deep love for the person. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling and I chose often, sometimes, several times a day. It took seven months before I felt release from the offense.
Though the person had not intended to hurt me by their action, it was nevertheless painful. It was a perceived offense but a very real hurt. Had I not obeyed God’s word to forgive, I would still be holding a grudge today.
Not all offenses are perceived, many offenses are intentional. Either way they hurt. Both perceived and intentional offenses need forgiving if we are to receive healing.
More Than a Business Deal
When we choose to forgive it doesn’t mean the offense or hurt wasn’t real. No-one is going to perform a lobotomy on our brain so we forget, but with healing from the Lord it will become a memory viewed from the side of victory. The offender does not have to do anything in order for us to forgive them, if they do, then it’s not real forgiveness on our part, rather it is a business deal.
I have heard people say that they won’t forgive because they cannot trust the person. News Alert! Forgiveness does not mean we have to trust the offender again. Sometimes trust can be rebuilt over time, but in some instances distance is best.
Father, help us learn to forgive quickly, like you. Heal our broken hearts and renew your spirit of gentleness and love in us. Help us to live in the light of your radiance and not in the darkness of unforgiveness. We can choose to forgive because we have been forgiven by you.
Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance
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Photo Credit: Luca Bravo, Unsplash.