Facing our Problems
Facing our Problems
Over the years I have had people tell me: “I don’t really struggle, or have a problem with bitterness or unforgiveness.” While this may be true with a few people I really believe that if they would admit it and be truthful with themselves they have a problem of some degree with bitterness and forgiveness. Almost every one of us has someone (or ones) that we have not or have had difficulty with forgiving. I have asked several people to be honest enough to admit that there is a root of bitterness in your heart that there are one or more people in their life past or present that they have never forgiven. The answer to this question has almost always been that there is someone in their past or present that they’ve had difficulty forgiving.
This has become profoundly clear to me in visiting those that have left the church. There is someone in the church that they have not forgiven in their heart. In all probability there are members that attend worship service on Sunday morning that have not forgiven someone that has offended them. They have wounds that are still bleeding. They are still suffering and still hearing the words, still seeing the offenses, still having a hard time getting over what has happened to them in their life. They have in some form learned to live with the situation that is causing difficulty in their life and maybe even causing health problems.
We cannot talk about forgiveness without acknowledging the reality of pain. If nobody ever offended us or hurt us, there would be no need for forgiveness. As we look around our society today our it is truly a society of wounded people. I once heard a statement from a philosopher and I’m not sure who said it first: “Hurt people hurt people”. This is certainly true as we look around our society today. But where does all this hurt come from? More often than not, it is the result of harbored hurt and smoldering bitterness that has turned to anger, hatred, revenge, and violence. All of this is a result of the experiences and events in our life that we feel have been inappropriate in which we had to endure. This all could have occurred during our younger growing up years in which we have failed to deal with these hurts. Perhaps it is a manager or boss in the company where you work who has made you feel undervalued or maybe has marginalized you. All of this may have left you with a heart that often feels like it’s tied up in knots. It seems like you’re constantly at war, always on guard against an onslaught of conflicting feelings. All of these situations and problem will affect our worship to God and our relationships with others if we fail to deal with them. You might compare it to going around each day with a low-grade fever – if not a dangerously high one – it will change our perspective of others.
The big question is, do these problems past or present have to define who you are, where you’re headed, and how you get there? Is the ugly residue of hurt that you have experienced your lot in life? Do you believe that the answer to these questions is “No”?
How do you simultaneously forgive someone while also bearing the responsibility of protecting yourself? Should it bring out your desire to protect your loved ones when your son or daughter is mistreated?
How do you respond when a person comments to you: “Trouble has come upon my family. Where there should be love there is hatred, and where there should be compassion there is sorrow and fighting and arguing.” These are giant size wounds that need a giant size answers. There are no magical words. You cannot wave a magic wand and put things back like they were before the hurt occurred. In Microsoft Word there is an “UNDO” button. In real life there is no “UNDO” button that we can use to return things back the way they were.
When the pain is so great, when the wound is so tender, when the offense is this obvious, how do we forgive?
We must remember that forgiveness is a choice. It is a command that we get from the Word of God. When we choose to forgive we are making a choice that will benefit us spiritually and in some cases physically.