When was the last time you offered forgiveness to someone who hurt you? You know what I mean – someone who’s continually mean, disrespectful and downright rude! Have you forgiven them – I mean truly forgiven them?
Forgiveness….it’s a tough one, but it’s not just for the person that hurt you. It’s, also, for you.
Say what?! Yep, you read that correctly. Forgiveness is more for you than the one who hurt you. In fact, I love this quote by Najwa Zebian….
Today I decided to forgive you. Not because you apologized, or because you acknowledged the pain that you caused me, but because my soul needs peace.
I’ve had many times in my life when I’ve been hurt – more than I’d care to count, and I have no doubt you have too.
Hurt comes in a couple different ways. There’s the hurt you feel from a person that would never intentionally do this and if they knew how much they’ve hurt you, they’d fall all over themselves apologizing. You can forgive those friends easily – correct?
But what about the person that’s continually mean, disrespectful and downright rude? How on earth are you supposed to forgive that one?
Well it’s certainly not easy, is it? But we are not to seek revenge against those who treat us unfairly, nor are we to be overly vocal about our personal rights.
Recently I found myself in a situation like this. Where someone had continually been disrespectful. I prayed for months that God would change my heart. I knew I was being ugly about it. I knew I was not being the Christian God created me to be. But I felt so much anger and rage over the situation.
I wish I could tell you that it only took a short time for me to forgive this person, but I can’t. It took months and months of praying. Constantly talking to God – over and over again. All… Day… Long. Every time I started getting angry, I’d turn to Him and ask him to take it from me. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were days that I went to Him 100 different times.
And then it happened.
I was praying about it for what must have been the millionth time (o.k. probably not quite that many, but it was a lot), and I heard Him! I actually heard God say “forgive them.” It caught me completely off guard! My prayers came to an abrupt halt and I just sat there thinking, “did He really just say that to me?” And then He said it again, “forgive them.” And I did! At this point, it wasn’t hard at all. It was time, I was ready, and God gave me the strength to do it!
Almost immediately my heart felt lighter. I could breathe again…I mean really breathe. For quite some time my heart had been so heavy. I felt awful inside knowing that I wasn’t behaving in a way that would make God proud of me. I was feeling so ugly about it that His Light couldn’t shine through me…. and I, certainly, couldn’t draw others to Him.
God wasn’t asking me to excuse the bad behavior, but He does expect me to forgive and to love unconditionally. It’s not my job to change that person. It’s God’s job.
I have to remember that God is working in their life and it may have absolutely nothing to do with me. So, quite frankly, it was time for me to mind my own business and trust God to handle it.
This person is still in my life, but I’m feeling so much better now. My ugliness is gone, my heart feels lighter and I can go about my day accepting this person the way they are. I have no doubt there will be days that are more difficult than others, but I know that all I have to do is turn to God and he will show me the way.
During my months of prayer, He showed me how wrong I was in my behavior toward the situation.
I don’t know why it took me so long to forgive, but I do know that God uses adversity to bring us closer to Him. Clearly, I needed that time. I had to work on me before I could move forward with forgiveness for someone else.
So how long will you hold onto that grudge? Becoming more and more bitter by the day, by the hour, by the minute. Is it helping? Is it making you feel better?
Who’s really suffering from this? Most likely not the person hurting you. They are still going about their day as if nothing ever happened.
Most likely you are the only one that is miserable in this situation.
I’m not here to tell you that I have all the answers – not by a long shot! But I’m walking in the trenches with you, my friend, and I can help you get through it….hopefully quicker than I did.
So how on earth do you deal with this type of relationship in your life? How do you forgive someone that has really hurt you?
- Take it to God. He already knows your hurt and pain. He provides true and complete understanding. When you go to Him, He will open up your perspective and help you to see the situation through His eyes and many times, He’ll show you your role in the situation.
- Remember, God has forgiven you. None of us are perfect, but He has forgiven us. If God can forgive our sins, isn’t it only right to forgive others?
- It’s not your job to change that person. That’s God’s job. It’s your job to love them unconditionally.
- Forgiveness frees you from hatred and bitterness. We aren’t created to live with constant hatred and bitterness in our hearts. Think about how you truly feel when you’re holding on to these ugly feelings. I know when I’m holding on to mine, I’m miserable. I’m not proud of myself. I’d much rather live with peace in my heart. I can’t do this if I’m holding all this anger. So give it to God. Even if you have to turn to him over and over again on any given day. If you keep giving it to Him, he’ll take it from you. He’ll show you that it’s a much better existence living peacefully with Him rather than living with hate in your heart.
- God makes beauty out of ashes. Every. Single. Time! Look for the blessing in your situation. I guarantee there will be, at least, one, and many times you’ll find more. Start with the fact that you now have the opportunity to spend more time with God.
None of this is easy. As I said, I’m in the trenches with you, my friend. I’m determined to let the anger go – which sometimes requires going to God hundreds of times a day. I know He’ll take it from us. In fact, He is ready to take it now…..if only we’d let Him.
Are you ready to forgive someone? Give it to God and then head over to How to Pray for Someone Who’s Hurt You to help you get started.
Choose to be happy and not let someone else take it from you. Choose to love unconditionally.
Have you been in a similar situation? Be sure to share in the comments below so that we can all hold each other up and learn to show grace even during difficult times.
Until next time, my friend…….
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