I'm So Hurt! Why Should I Forgive?
By Ann Stewart
Lives are shattered in an instant. Your loved one may be killed or maimed for life and the perpetrator is unrepentant. Yet, you are called to forgive! The first thoughts that may come to mind are: 'why should I forgive this person for such a horrible, willful act of violence!'
Have you ever hurt someone, even unwittingly, by words spoken in haste? Those words may have been perceived as hurtful because they triggered some deeply buried pain from the past that you were not aware of. Weeks later you realize that every time you meet this friend, there is a cold gulf between you until eventually all communication stops … unless one of you opens up and gets down to the source. You're the perpetrator; your friend has chosen to harbor unforgiveness. You feel the alienation; the other hurt, compounded by recurring thoughts of 'how could a friend do this to me?'
The more thoughts of 'poor me' are entertained, the greater the hurt is magnified, and the more the seed of unforgiveness gets rooted. Now, let's get a glimpse of how God views unforgiveness. To Him it is a sin, and all sin is in essence a rebellion against God! As a Christian, you are free from the bondage of sin. You only need to come to Him with a contrite heart, and all transgressions you have committed will be forgiven.
There are two spiritual laws at work: the law of the Holy Spirit and the law of sin and death, namely Satan. Paul had a hard time with it as well, recognizing that the more he wanted to obey God in all things, the more he would find himself doing what was evil! He discovered that the carnal mind is constantly in rebellion with God. (Rom. 7: 14-25) In other words, when your thoughts are more occupied with your physical and emotional needs than on God's plan for your life, then you will feel the resulting tension.
When you think of sin, any act that grieves God, you think of what you have done to someone, something, or even your own body. Sin tends to come from a hurtful, bitter or selfish heart and manifests outward. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, is a conscious reaction to someone else's sin. Your thoughts are in effect telling you that because of your suffering you have the right and power to curse the perpetrator. However, be aware that those are not God's thoughts!
God's Word says: "Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not." It's His job to do the punishing: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12: 14-21)
God loves all mankind; even the worst sinner, and it is His Love that draws the sinner to repentance. There are consequences to every sin. By forgiving evildoers, you are not acknowledging that they should not be punished. You are merely acknowledging that this Power belongs to God! Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, hatred, and eventually physical and emotional illnesses, like depression. Does that sound like a curse you would put on yourself?
The mob cursed Jesus at his trial, yelling at Pontius Pilate to crucify Him. Jesus forgave them from the cross! (Luke 23: 21; 34)
After the power of the Holy Spirit came on the disciples and Peter addressed the crowd and accused them of having denied Jesus and sent Him to the cross, he also acknowledged that they had done it in ignorance! (Acts. 3: 13-17) Did ignorance mean innocence, because they did not realize what they had done?
Ignorance of God's Word leads to acting on the thoughts planted by the evil one. Just as Peter told the crowd, there is a way out of even the worst sin. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Peter acknowledged God's Love and Forgiveness to those who had cursed Jesus, telling them: "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." (Acts 3: 19; 26)
Thus, walk in freedom and receive of all the blessings God has for you!. "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shoudst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass" "But I am the Lord thy God" "And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand." (Isa. 51: 11,12, 15-16)
About the Author
Ann Stewart is author of With Wings As Eagles, an inspiring story of unwavering faith in God's Word and answered prayer: http://www.lifealteringwords.com/with-wings-as-eagles
Looking for affirmation, encouragement and inspiration? The welcome door is wide open at Embracing All the Promises of God: http://www.lifealteringwords.com
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