Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Recently I was put in the position of needing to forgive someone. They had not asked me to forgive them, and they did not admit they did anything wrong. But I knew the spirit of unforgiveness in my heart would turn to bitterness if I didn't release the hurt and the one who hurt me into the hands of God. Has someone ever disrespected you, made you feel like less of a person, and showed you with their actions that you had less worth than other people? Then you know my pain. I tried to make things right with that person, but they would not bend from their position of "rightness."
I didn't have to be right, but I did wish to be respected. Perhaps respect is one means of showing love to another. It is not an automatic, and it often has to be earned. I thought my history with this person had earned me her respect.
What did I do when the peacemaking efforts were dashed? I took it to Jesus. I asked Him to heal my breaking heart and to help me get over my feelings of rejection. Sadness. I was in a bad place. Hurt. Pain. You've been there. What can you do to soothe the sting?
I asked God to help me love this individual with the love of Jesus. That same love Jesus showed me when I didn't deserve love, I wanted to experience for the one who sinned against me. I prayed for her. I put myself in her shoes. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. And I spoke the words, "I forgive you." I wasn't pardoning the offense. I was just saying "I no longer hold you accountable for that, but rather I release you to God, who will take care of helping you grow from this." And He is helping ME grow from this as well.
Do you have someone you need to forgive? Maybe this week you can take the first step in learning to love them again, with the same love Jesus has offered you. It's not easy, but it can be done. And you know what happens when you release the hurt? It frees you up to experience an unexplainable grace and peace from the very God of all comfort. Hurt for healing; bitterness for blessing. What a trade!