Forgiveness is hard, maybe I just make it harder than it should be? When we feel hurt or harmed by another how do we just let that go and forgive? I spent so many years being angry at God that I am newly learning and growing my relationship with Him again. During this journey I have been reading the bible more and more.
Learning to have grace and forgiveness with myself, others and God might take me a lifetime, but I am trying. There are many verses throughout the bible that talk about forgiveness. “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
When it comes to forgiveness, I have struggled. I have been hurt. Physically, emotionally, spiritually and this pain can feel soul deep, the kind that you can never let go of. The kind of pain that in some weird way also feels like it is the only thing is still holding you together.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice.” (Ephesians 4:31) Wow! How do we shut those feelings off and put them away? I don’t know about you, but I have certainly had times that I wanted to find one of those places where you can go and just smash things. A place to let your anger out (I have yet to find one, but I think I still want to.)
When we feel we have been wronged or hurt the anger and rage that can rise up is hard to overcome. We have to remember that we all make mistakes, we have all sinned. We are human, we are flawed. We live in a culture of self-sufficiency, this expectation that we have to manage everything on our own. This idea that we should not fail nor should others fail us. Where does this come from?
I have been lied to by the people I loved the most and felt abandoned and alone. The thought of forgiving those that have trespassed against me feels foreign. But when I read about Jesus and read the bible there is a grace within my heart and soul that warms me from the inside. God made us with the ability to forgive others, to forgive ourselves, if we are willing to walk through that door. It doesn’t erase what happened and it may not erase all the pain, but it can take the power and hold it has on you away.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Truly forgiving God took about thirty years, I didn’t realize that was where I needed to start, but it was. There was no way I was going to take any more steps toward my own healing and growth if I first wasn’t able to see that God was the first act of forgiveness hiding in my heart.
God had never really harmed me or hurt me. But that thirteen-year-old girl still inside of me spent thirty years blaming God and thinking that He took my mom away. Once I was able to talk to God and realize that the roots of my anger toward Him had begun to crumble, I was able to accept Him into my heart again. From there, I have been able to work on trying to forgive others and myself.
We have all sinned and we all need forgiveness. With that knowledge also comes an awareness that we will be sinned against by others. If it hasn’t happened yet, it most likely will. It may not be a big event, but rather a small act. Understanding that as humans we will make mistakes helps me to try and see the world in a different light.
I am in no way perfect, none of us are, but learning to pray again has opened my heart. I often ask God to help me see through His eyes and hear through His ears to not lose sight of the place we all come from and where we will return. To not lose sight of the good in others even when the bad may be easier to see. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Song of the day: Matthew West, ‘Forgiveness’