Forgiveness is difficult, really difficult. It is a hard thing to do especially when we are still going through the hurt done. When people hurt us, it is very easy to become angry and bitter. It is easy to go on a blaming cycle where we tell those who hurt us everything they did to us.
We feel justified to hold on to what people have done to us. We want them to know, we want them to hurt like they hurt us! We ask: Do they realize how much their mean words and actions affected us? Do they realize the consequences of their actions? Why did they do that to us? Why did they say that to us? Why did they say that about us?
It is hard, especially when such words and actions have severe or permanent consequences; if it is something we have to deal with for the rest of our lives. What if it is something that affects us physically? Something that affects our image and the way people view us? What if it involves great loss – loss of a body part or body function, or loss of a loved one due to someone else’s mistake? What if it causes deep emotional hurt? What if? The possibilities of how deeply hurt affects us is endless.
There are many hurt people in the world, with open wounds caused by someone else’s words or actions. We all get hurt at one point or another, we hurt people at one point or another, most times even without realizing it.
We do things and say things that cause deep hurt in other people’s lives. Some people never recover from those hurts; some go on to commit suicide, some commit their lives to destroying the lives of others as an expression of their hurt. What we say or do usually has a ripple effect; it affects other people in return, whether positively or negatively.
Hurt people tend to hurt others. When we do not deal with our own hurts, we go out there and hurt others, whether knowingly or not.
We have become a bitter angry society. We have become a people who return evil for evil, we curse everything and anyone, we spill bitter, angry, ugly words at each other. We enter the lives of others and leave a trail of wreck and broken hearts.
Most of us struggle with unforgiveness; we are unable to forgive those who hurt us. We live in shame and guilt over mistakes done. When things go wrong in our lives, we blame ourselves for the wrong choices. We ask many questions. Why did we allow that person into our lives? Why did we allow that person to do that to us? Why did we say what we said? Why did we do what we did? Why did we allow such things to happen? Why did we allow people to talk bad to us and about us?
We grieve over our mistakes, at times, for too long. We can even hate ourselves for what happened to us. We live in condemnation and consider ourselves unworthy, unlovable, damaged, and not likable. We internalize everything and that unforgiveness eats us up. We cannot even recognize ourselves any longer; we become like skeletons of who we were created to be.
When bad things happen which we consider unjust or immoral, which are committed against us or to those around us, we should not lose ourselves in the process. There is always the right way to handle such. The law of the land outlines how to handle injustices. Yet, even so, we should not become slaves to hatred and bitterness. We are to forgive; ask God to forgive us and those who have hurt us in any way.
Forgiveness does not mean letting the other person continue hurting us. We put boundaries. We seek help. We acknowledge that what they did was wrong, we tell them they hurt us if possible. Then we let go of the desire to avenge.
In the same way, we acknowledge that we did something wrong or allowed someone into our lives that hurt us. But we do not condemn ourselves. We rebuke the spirit of hatred, vengeance, self-condemnation and others-condemnation. We do not allow ourselves to go into shame, we do not allow the enemy to put up a stronghold in our lives. We lay everything at the cross. We take everything to God.
Unforgiveness can distract us from our God-ordained destiny. When we spend a lot of time and energy going through past hurts, going through what should have been, and what ifs; when we allow bitterness to take root, we strain our relationship with God. The enemy starts controlling us.
The Bible tells us to forgive. When we recognize we are forgiven, then we can also forgive others. Christ died many years ago before we were born and paid the price in full. All we have to do is recognize that we have sinned and when we ask for forgiveness, Christ’s blood washes our sins away.
We are all children of God, created in His image and likeness. It is sin that separates us from God. God does not want any of us to perish. God loves everyone of us and views us with great compassion.
When we learn to view others as God sees them, with compassion and as fellow travelers in this world trying to find their way, then we can reach a point of forgiveness, even for those things we would have considered unforgivable.
When we do not forgive, we become like hypocrites. God loves each one of us in a unique way. We are equal in the eyes of God.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25.
God understands our struggles. We bring to Christ our struggles, we tell Him we are struggling with forgiving someone, we tell Him we are struggling with shame, regret, and condemnation. When we are open before God, He will help us in those areas which we are struggling with. He softens our hearts and with time, we are able to extend the same level of compassion to others.
Christ had no sin yet He was hated and eventually crucified. Yet, even in the midst of that, He forgave everyone. Those who hated and crucified Him really did not know what they were doing. The Bible tells us if we forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive us; but if we do not, He will not forgive us our trespasses.
When we realize we have sinned and in need of forgiveness, we can extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us. When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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