Have you been deeply hurt by someone and are finding it difficult to let go? Are you holding bitterness, anger, and resentment in your heart? I’ve certainly been there!
Forgiving someone who’s hurt you is one of the most difficult things you are called to do, but it is what God expects.
He calls you to humble yourself, to lay your resentment down before him, and offer forgiveness to anyone who has ever hurt you.
Jesus was beaten, tortured and died on that cross so that your sins and the sins of others could be forgiven. Considering the magnitude of what He did and continues to do for you, shouldn’t you be just as forgiving?
Wow! If only it were that easy!
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Finding forgiveness for someone who has hurt you is not an easy road and it’s certainly not going to be quick.
There’s been hurt, anger, and resentment, and it’s going to take some time to work through it, to change how you see the situation, and to allow God to change your heart.
In order to let go of this pain, there are five crucial steps for you to take.
Realign your thinking
Is your only focus on getting even? If so, then it’s time for a change of heart, my friend.
In The Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, she asks,
Are you willing to do what’s right or would you rather be right? Are you willing to give life or is it more important to get even?
Although it’s tempting to want to get even, to lash out at that person and hurt them as they’ve hurt you, deep down I imagine you really want to do what’s right.
Taking the high road can be downright tough. Our nature is to fight back. The enemy whispers in our ear, “Get even. That person doesn’t deserve to be loved. They don’t deserve your forgiveness.”
But, my friend, those are complete and utter lies.
Is it going to be easy? Not on your life! Particularly if that person has continually hurt you time and time again, but it can be done.
You can forgive someone who’s hurt you.
Ask God where you need to change
The next step is going to God in prayer, (If you haven’t already, be sure to read, How to Pray for Someone Who’s Hurt You.) admitting that your heart has become hardened to that person and that you want God to change it. Tell Him that you don’t want to feel this way, but rather, you want God’s love to shine through you – by your actions and your words.
In this journey, God’s going to be showing you how you need to change, where your fault lies in the situation.
That’s right, you may not have intentionally hurt that person, but if you haven’t forgiven them, there is bitterness in your heart, and holding on to that is equally as sinful. (Talk about smacking you square in the face! The first time I learned this, I had the big “ugly cry!”)
It’s a humbling road to walk down for sure and God will be teaching you some hard lessons, including,
It is not your job to judge that person but to love them unconditionally.
I know, I know, now you’ll be dealing with not only the feelings of being hurt, but also with your own weaknesses, and let me tell you, having God put your shortcomings right in front of you is not an easy thing to swallow.
Keep your focus on Him
This is tough when you are hurt, but keeping your focus on God instead of how hurt you are, or the resentment you’re feeling, is an important step of your journey.
It’s going to take a lot of practice. A lot!
Every time you find yourself stewing over how hurt you are and letting the bitterness eat at you, stop and whisper,
“Jesus, please take this anger, bitterness, and resentment away from me. I humble myself before you and lay them down at your feet. Help me to focus on you and all the blessings you have given me. I ask that you release me from these ill feelings and fill my heart and words with your unconditional love. Show me how I can best serve you in this situation, Lord.”
Even if you have to whisper this prayer 100 times/day, do it. God understands that you live in this fallen world and it’s not easy to let these feelings go, but over time, as you turn your focus to Him, He’ll begin to change your heart.
And oh my goodness, my friend, hang on tight, because when your heart begins to change, it’s the most glorious feeling in the world!
It’s important for you to be honest with God. After all, he already knows everything about you, so there’s no point in trying to hide it from him.
In fact, it’s perfectly o.k. to go to Him and say,
“Lord, you know my heart. You know that I’m holding on to resentment, bitterness, anger and hurt. I don’t want to forgive this person, however, that’s what you are calling me to do, and I want to live for you. I ask that you change my heart. Help me to see them from your perspective, as my brother or sister in Christ. I ask that you forgive me for holding on to this grudge. Teach me how I can show your love and not let the enemy fill me with his lies. I want to change, I want to forgive, and I know that through you, I can do it.”
It’s amazing how praying this single prayer will begin to open your heart. You’ll feel the bitterness, hurt, and anger start to slip away.
Spending time in The Word.
Spending time in The Word is incredibly important in your journey to forgiveness. There is so much you can learn from God, through an abundance of scripture lighting your way.
In fact, Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us how important it is to get rid of the bitterness and anger, and forgiving those who have hurt you, just as God has forgiven you.
(31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. (32) Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
If you’ve never really read the bible before (which was me up until a few years ago), you will gain so much knowledge, find inspiration, and everything you need to guide the way on any journey you are on.
The road to forgiveness is not an easy one. You’ll have many bumps, trials, and frustrations along the way. But just remember, you have to go through the pain in order to find the joy.
Make no mistake, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take as long as it takes, as long as God has something to teach you, but taking this journey is going to be one of the best lessons of your life!
So today, my friend. Choose forgiveness – even if, at first, you don’t want to. Go to God and ask that He change your heart, that He open your eyes and heart to see from His perspective.
If He has the power to raise a man from the dead, then He has the power to change your heart. He can remove your resentment, and help you see that person from His perspective. And let me tell you, His perspective is far more beautiful than anything we can see with our earthly eyes!
You’ve got this, my friend. With God by your side, you can do this!
To help encourage you in your journey to forgiveness, I’ve put together 10 Scriptures on Forgiveness. You can find it in our subscriber library.
If you’re struggling to forgive someone, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or send me a prayer request (by clicking the “more” button in the menu above) so that I can join you in your prayers and take your requests to the Lord.
Until next time, my friend…
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