Up until recently? I would have told you, 100% that I don’t have an issue with forgiveness. That’s the easiest concept for me to grasp, even in a biblical sense.
It had always seemed so simple to me. (And yes, I fully admit my naivety is showing through here!) But as long as someone appeared truly repentant over whatever they had done? I was able to forgive and move forward. It was pretty simple. Or so I thought.
I’d always approached my faith that way too. If I went to God, got down on my knees and confessed? Then I knew he would move forward, my sin a thing of the past.
I suppose (until recently) I have been incredibly lucky that those who have hurt me have done so in a “fleshly” way. It’s easy to forgive a little white lie, a moment of stupid judgement, any simple offense. And if it wasn’t so simple? I could forgive, move on and be done with that person. And I always had felt that God was pretty much the same way.
But then, the past year has been full of many instances where I’ve found myself questioning how I forgive. How I move forward without holding onto the anger.
Sure, I know forgiveness doesn’t excuse what someone has done. But there have been a few instances where the person has caused so much harm (and not always to me, but to those I love) where my gut instinct is to hold onto the pain and the anger.
A few weeks ago, after the most recent resurgence of this anger, I had a friend handed me a book (knowing I’m a huge book worm) and I was tempted to shrug it off. I wanted to sit in my anger, dwell in it. (Even though I knew that God wanted me to move beyond it, give it to Him and get over it.)
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26)
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesians 4:31)
As Christ forgave you, so you also must do (Colossians 3:13)
So I checked my pride at the door and opened up the book (You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado) and what I found inside those pages were truly life changing. (Although in keeping with the theme, I have to admit I mostly skimmed this book, and only read passages I felt applied to me! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone else!)
Here’s the thing that I really took away from this. No matter how bad it hurts, how angry it makes you? You have to give it to God. Ask him to take it, and to use this circumstance to change you, build you up.
You have to trust that He will take this situation (which likely is the result of the enemy attacking) and he will make it beautiful in a way that you can’t possibly begin to imagine. It may take awhile, and the hurt may last for awhile. But you need to give it to him and forgive the offender.
I know this is easier said than done. I have to admit that as I made this realization? I spent a whole lot of time on my knees in the corner of my bedroom, begging God to help me to move forward from these moments. To forgive the people who offended me (and my loved ones) and to walk forward from the situation knowing that He has control.
Don’t let anger and bitterness control your life. I can assure you, the road to forgiveness is a steep climb, but once you’ve handed it over to the Father? You will experience a peace and joy beyond what you can imagine. (And you may have to continue to ask for his help, but I can assure you he will always help you with that!)
-Jacque Hebrews 6:19