I asked the Lord once "why do we choose to hold on to our pain and anger and refuse to forgive people"? We often waste time, sometimes years..... rehearsing what happened in our minds and telling others about how someone offended us. His response brought me to a place of repentance because I know I have done both of these at some time in my life: 1) we use it to justify our sinful behavior toward others; or 2) we actually enjoy the attention we receive by being a victim. This was hard to hear and even harder to confess that I had done these things in my own life.
Last week I drove through a city that brought back memories from many years ago. As family members came together for a weekend of fun, something happened and the family trip ended with much anger and hurt between some of us. I have always associated the pain with the city- and I never wanted to go back there. I held on to the memories of that incident for several years which caused conflict any time we were around particular family members. But I finally chose to forgive and let go of the pain and anger, after about 4 years.
As I was driving through the city for the first time in about 10 years, I realized that I no longer felt the sting of the hurtful words that were spoken to me or the anger toward the person who said them. In that moment I thanked God for healing and restoration. My only regret was that I had not forgiven sooner. Lord, help me to be quick to forgive!
When we revisit places within our hearts that still hurt or bring up feelings of anger, we need to ask God to help us forgive and for healing in that area. Forgiveness is a choice. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Freedom feels good! And just look at the beauty I have missed out on all these years because I was holding on to something I needed to release! Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to experience this place differently this time.
I am often asked "how do I forgive when they hurt me so deeply?" By FAITH....make the decision to forgive them, then speak it by faith. No, you may not "feel" it right away, but forgiveness is not a feeling. Unforgiveness brings anger, frustration, and sin. Obedience to His word brings joy, peace, and life. Forgiveness is a process that we must walk out day by day, choosing to release that person to God and trusting Him. And one day, as you revisit that place of bad memories, you will realize you no longer hurt.....that's when you know you have forgiven.
I pray for courage for you as you step out and say "God, I forgive them. Bless them and heal my heart." With God ALL things are possible!
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Colossians 3:13 NIV
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."