Unfortunately, I’ve learned more lately than I ever have before that humans have the capacity to cause so much harm and cause immense damage in another humans heart with their harsh words and actions. But fortunately, I’ve also learned more lately than ever that the Father always remains gentle and kind towards us. He never fails to nurture and protect our hearts when others fail to. He handles it with utmost delicacy because He cherishes the wellbeing of it deeply.
Everything changed for me the moment I realized I forgive not because the person who hurt me is deserving of forgiveness, but because I am deserving of being set free from what they did to me. The hard truth of forgiveness is that until we forgive them, we remain emotionally bound to them.
More often times than not, we have the tendency to hold a tight grip onto the hurt someone else causes us because we feel as if they don’t deserve to be forgiven for what they did, but my friend, bitterness can only result in boundness. When we are in Christ, we forfeit the right to unforgiveness because when Jesus says in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours,” He isn’t suggesting we forgive, He’s commanding it of us. My sweet friend, you have every right to be angry. You have every right to be upset. You have every right to be hurt. But if you are in Christ, you don’t have the right to not forgive them.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
There is oh so much freedom in knowing that forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior—it doesn’t mean we have to trust them or even be a part of their lives again. It simply removes us from being bonded to them and the harm they caused us. The pain another human can inflict on us is great, but the pain of living with bitterness is more. Forgiveness makes way for miracles; bitterness hinders them.
In this season of healing from an immense wound another person inflicted upon me, I’ve learned that healing begins when we choose to take matters out of our own hands and place it into the hands of the Father who will make all things right in due time. Forgiveness begins with surrender and forfeiting control.
A hard truth of the matter is when we choose to not forgive someone for the hurt they’ve caused us, we’re failing to trust that God is a just God and will make things right on our behalf in His time, not our own. He has completely removed from us the burden of taking justice into our own hands—He simply asks us to surrender control and watch Him make beauty from the ashes. But the thing is, He can’t make beauty from ashes if we’re holding onto the ashes. Surrender the need to take matters into your own hands and watch Him work miracles in and through you.
“Just because you’ve been hurt doesn’t mean you have to live hurt. Today is a great day for forgiveness.” – Lysa TerKeurst
My friend, take heart in knowing that the person who hurt you doesn’t get to write your story. We serve a God who has the resources to rewrite the pages to be used for your good and for His glory. We can take heart in the fact that the Father is angry at the sin committed against you and He remains protective over your heart while simultaneously treating it with the utmost compassion and care. Only He makes a way when there are none.
The thing about God is He forgives us without hesitation or second thought. In fact, He delights in forgiving us long before we even asked. He expects us to extend the same grace to others—including ourselves—even when it’s hard.
This is your gentle reminder to forgive not because they deserve it. Forgive because first, the Lord commands you to and second, because it reconciles you to the Lord. You’ll never find true healing until you can walk in full forgiveness. You may have to forgive a thousand times over, but do it every time. Your forgiveness will never go in vain—He will reward your faithfulness every time.
Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22
Unforgiveness enslaves us. Forgiveness frees us. And my friend, I hope you choose to walk in freedom every time. It’s well worth it. You are well worth it.