We ultimately have to learn to forgive, and move on with our lives. We can’t hold all that anger and bitterness in. It can wreck our relationship with those around us and with Christ. Sometimes, you are really wronged. Sometimes, people do go too far, cause too many problems and too much drama. But at the end of the day, we are still called to forgive.
Let me stop right here and say that that doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Sometimes, forgiving is one of the hardest things to do. Forgive that person, after all the damaged they caused you? Forgive yourself? Why should you?
I can’t count how many times I have felt betrayed, back-stabbed, or whatever. People have made me so angry I didn’t know what to do, time and time again. I ultimately do forgive the people who have hurt me, but depending on how deep the wound, it could a short amount of time or a very long amount of time for you to heal. It once took me a couple years to forgive someone.
A good thing about forgiveness is that when you finally work up the courage to, and your heart becomes big enough to, you finally get over all the bitterness. You know how sometimes when you refuse to forgive someone, you say “no way! I am never going to let go of it! They hurt me so much!” Have you ever noticed that when you won’t let it go, that pain won’t ever let you go? The more you think about the person, the angrier you get, and the more you feel that pain they caused. But when you forgive, you stop thinking about them, that anger dwindles down, and the pain finally really goes away!
I know this from experience. When I forgave someone who broke my heart, I wasn’t angry at them anymore, I didn’t want them to die, I wasn’t in pain because they ignored me, it was like I was totally uninhibited. I didn’t think of them and wince or cry or anything, as I did before I forgave them. I was perfectly fine. But that was after a couple years and some hard work. I had to focus on other things in my life and stop obsessing over that one thing. I had to spend time with God, reflecting on ways to heal, and how to fix my horrible decisions. I had to pray and ask God to forgive me for holding so much anger in.
One reason we should forgive is because God forgives us when we forgive others.
“Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. ” Luke 6:37
Every mistake we make, every heartache we cause our Father- if we can turn away from the bad things we’ve done and sincerely apologize, God will forgive us. Every time he saw us lie or cheat or be proud or anything, he never stopped loving us. Then who are we to stop loving him when he challenges us? Who are we to stop loving others when they are challenging for us?
Did you realize that while Jesus was on the cross, he was forgiving all of those people who abused him and beat him and mocked him? He was forgiving those who persecuted and executed him? He was forgiving those who were cheering because he was bleeding and dying? Thinking of that makes me feel so small, and so I wonder: who the heck am I not to forgive?
Pray that God will give you the strength to be able to get over your bitterness. It’s not easy, but certainly you can do it with the Lord’s help. God knows it when you trust in him for help. He can help to take away that pain and brokenness inside. I know from experience. If you can learn to say “I forgive what they did to me, I won’t hold it against them anymore”, God will do the same, and turn his head away from your sins and the bad you do. He will treat us how we treat others.