One of the hardest things you can do in life is forgive someone who has hurt you. It’s hard because someone wronged you, someone picked apart everything little thing about you and told you that you are not good enough (Or at least that’s what it feels like). Maybe in your case, someone talked behind your back, someone told one of your deepest secrets, someone bullied you, someone physically hurt you, maybe you were betrayed, maybe you were a victim of sexual assault, maybe you were abused, maybe even someone you love was killed, and the list could go on. The point here is we all have been somewhere where it seems like there is no hope, and the hatred for that person has consumed us. I have, for sure.
When I was in grade school and then all throughout high school, I was bullied. I was bullied for not being the “manliest of men”, or in this case the “manliest” of boys. I was bullied because I didn’t like football. I was bullied because I didn’t like the things that a lot of boys liked (like trucks or sports). Instead, I liked to write, read, and sing. And as a fourth grader that took a toll on me. Every night I went home and cried. Every night was a fight to keep the hatred from consuming me. In high school, this lead to depression. I knew who I was, but all these people were telling me I was something else. I couldn’t handle the lies that I was being told by people who didn’t even know who I was. This lasted until my junior year in high school when I told myself that I was not going to let what people thought about me define who I am. These people can say what they want about me, but that does not determine who I am as a human and as a Christ follower.
I am not going to lie and say that everything since then has been awesome. No, because now I have new demons to face each and every day. I have insecurities and trust issues from that stage in my life that I have battle every day. But none of that matters. It doesn’t matter because 1) I know that I will always have demons to face until the glorious day Christ returns and 2) I know I am free from the hurt of those who hurt me.
I am free only because I have forgiven those who have hurt me.
It was a long time before I finally forgave each one of them, but what helped me was that I realized that I am a child of the MOST HIGH God and because of that He has a plan greater than anything I could have ever made. I accepted the hurt and I said, “without this hurt, without this pain that I experienced, I would not be who I am or where I am today.”
These experiences define you. They shape you. The mold you. You know that verse about God being the potter and you being the clay, Isaiah 64:8? And you know how we pray in church, “God mold me, and shape me into who you want me to be”? Well, newsflash, this is it! All this crap that you have been carrying around with you, believe it or not, is apart of God’s plan for you and apart of the mold He is shaping you to be.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18 Paul says,
“All this is from God, ” (talking about being a new creation) “who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
If you’re a Christian, in order to fully embody Christ and who He is, we need to learn to forgive. I mean after all, isn’t that what Christ is all about? Jesus came so that he could yes save us, but ultimately He came to FORGIVE us. He DIED so that we could be forgiven.
It is only when we learn how to reconcile that will we ever be a new creation.
Think about the people (or the person) you have not forgiven. Now think about what they did to you….
Now think about the people that Jesus had to forgive and all the sins he had to forgive. Wait, I need to re-phrase that. Now think about the people that Jesus did forgive and all that he did forgive. He forgave everything that ever needed or needs forgiving, including YOU for not forgiving your neighbor, and he didn’t even have to. He did it out of love.
Jesus wants us to forgive because that is how we are going to experience freedom in our relationship with Him.
If you feel like you are in a rut with Jesus, maybe you need to examine your heart and see if you are holding onto a pain that you have. I can guarantee you that when you forgive that person who hurt you, that pain will go away.
And keep in mind that each person is different. It will take time to learn how to forgive someone else. It will take time for that pain to go away. But if you seek Jesus each and every day, and ask God to help you to forgive, he will because that’s what He loves to see his children do.
Does forgiving this person mean that you have to have a relationship with them? Absolutely not. I think it’s safe to say that I will never have a relationship with most of the people that hurt me growing up. They are not people that are going to nurture me in my faith. It would not be healthy for me to always have them around.
But what forgiving someone does mean is that you wish them the best. Despite what they did to you, you say “Just as God showed me mercy, I will show them.” It means that when you see them around, you won’t glare, or you won’t feel hatred in your heart, but you’ll acknowledge that they were apart of making you who you are today. It doesn’t mean you have to go and talk to them, but it means that if they come and talk to you that will willingly hear them out. Just as Jesus listens to us when we come to back to Him after we sin.
God’s plan for you may be hard to see sometimes, and it may be painful, it may bring tears to your eyes, it may cause you a lifetime of pain, but God’s plan is also for us to forgive those who have hurt us, just as we hurt Him.
But guess what? The greatest news about all of this is that Jesus STILL loves you, and He wouldn’t have it any other way.
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