The beginning of forgiveness

Have you ever been hurt by someone? Maybe that someone was a person you respected, or one you called friend, or even a family member. It seems the more you have invested into the relationship, the more painful the hurt.

One of the hardest things to do is to forgive. Those attacks that strike who we are and what we stand for hit our core, and take more work to root out than more superficial offenses like not liking what you fixed for supper or that you were five minutes late.

Unintentional slights that grow into huge issues, and past hurts that need to be forgotten, all work to divide friend from friend, family member from family member, church brother or sister from Godly fellowship. There is pain in my family, as I am sure there is in most all families. There is hurt in my church. We live in a fallen world, but we do not have to live like the fallen.

God has a lot to say about forgiveness, the strength of unity, and putting off our old sinful selves, which includes our propensity to hold grudges and hurts. Ephesians chapter four is especially full of warnings and admonitions. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” vs. 3. “They are separated from a life with God because of the hardening of their hearts” vs. 18. “Put off your old self and be made new in the attitudes of your mind” vs. 22. “Do not give the devil a foothold” vs. 27.

Hardening of our hearts against someone who has offended us robs us of God’s present blessings.

We need to put off our old selves, the self that is corrupted by the attitude of anger, the self that is being controlled by Satan. These are easy words to say, but require actions very hard to make.

I remember one time being wronged in a very personal way. My anger toward this person almost consumed me. I was filled with hate and revenge. I knew I could not continue to live in that dark place, and prayed that God would help me resolve my anger. Later I had a strange dream. I dreamed this person got a new car, a really, really nice new car. And I remember being very happy. I awoke and mulled over the dream, amazed that I could dream what I did and be happy about it.

That began my healing. I couldn’t imagine forgiveness, but God could, and showed me what forgiveness would feel like. The person never reconciled with me, but that was all right. The anger and pain was destroying me, not the wrong-doer. I had to learn to forgive.

God does not give us the ability to forgive until we surrender our anger to Him. Not until I gave God my anger over the injustice done did God provide me with the message I needed to help me forgive. We cannot hold the anger and forgive. We must lose one or the other.

Is there a situation in your life that continues to eat at your peace? Surrender the anger and pain to God. He will help you heal. Have a blessed week. I hope you find peace in whatever situations you find yourself. Regina

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