How can I Forgive?
How can I Forgive?
Each of us during our lives has experienced things that we feel may be impossible to forgive the individual that offended us. Maybe the offense was not as horrific as the Australian soldier in the movie “The Railroad Man”. We do not have to wait for years to be able to forgive those that offend us. Our hearts may be heavy because we have been praying for the individual. Our prayers may be that we come to the point where we can trust and depend upon God so that we don’t have to live in a miserable situation. The question we may ask is: “How can I do this?”
I would like to be able to tell you that forgiveness doesn’t require such total surrender and relinquishment. In fact, in a sense, it would be easier to sidestep this subject altogether, because we live in a day when so many are dealing with issues that penetrate to the core of our being, so many for whom holding others at arm’s length appears to be the only way to cope. Unfaithful spouses, neglectful and insensitive parents, rebellious children, heartless in-laws, and overbearing bosses or authoritarian figures. Need I go on?
Throughout my life in dealing with individuals, and in some cases counseling, I have encountered more pain in human hearts and relationships than I would have thought possible in this world. Go to the bookstore and you will find row after row of books about people that are hurting as a result of struggling with forgiveness. When expressing our sense of helplessness and longing that we feel in our heart we may ask: “How can I forgive this individual for what they have done?” Our hearts ache when we think of the injustice and pain that we have suffered. Our natural inclination is to wish upon those that offended us at least a measure of what they deserve.
But we must remember the example that our Lord and Savior set for us. We must be true instruments of mercy in each other’s lives. We must deal in truth – God’s truth. We must not just go through the motions, and act as though the hurt never happened. We must look deep into God’s Word and find the ways of God and apply these principles and ways to our life in real life experiences. God will help us apply His ways of reconciliation to our lives. He will restore the brokenness of our lives and make things better. Through His Providence He can restore our brokenness even in situations where an apology never comes. Paul reminds us in Romans of God’s everlasting love for us and that He provides generously all things for us. Romans 8:31–32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
We must not allow our well-meaning friends to support our stubborn determination to extract payment from those who have sinned against us through their sympathizing with our self-pity. God’s Word is very clear that the cost of unforgiveness is great. We cannot expect to live at peace with God or to experience His blessings in our lives if we refuse to forgive those who have sinned against us. To do so is to choke out His grace and to allow Satan to “outwit us”. 2 Corinthians 2:11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The wounds and the scars that have been inflicted upon you will not be made one ounce lighter by being stored up and left to fester. In fact they will only become heavier and more burdensome for us. Sympathy will only provide temporary relief. Nothing short of forgiveness can procure a lasting release from our situation. We have free will and we must make the decision to forgive.
Where are you in your journey of forgiveness?
In all probability you have some unresolved issues that are haunting you. The question is: What are you going to do about it?