In order to forgive, I must admit that I have been hurt. This can be hard to do, as we are sometimes more inclined to try to bury our feelings rather than work through them.
Acknowledging unchristian feelings of resentment and even anger before God is fine. We see this often expressed in the Psalms. I can feel free to tell God that I didn’t like what happened or how I was treated and that it makes me sad or angry or both.
In Joseph’s story, we see him crying as he sees his brothers again and relives some of the feelings of his past.
What does Jesus’ declaration on the cross tell us about the timing of forgiveness? Read Luke 23:34.
Jesus didn’t wait for us to ask for forgiveness first. We do not have to wait for our offender to ask for forgiveness. We can forgive others without having them accept our forgiveness.
What do Luke 6:28 and Matthew 5:44 teach about how we relate to those who hurt us?
Forgiveness, like love, begins with a choice rather than a feeling. We can make the choice to forgive, even if our emotions may not agree with this decision. God knows that in our own strength this choice is impossible, but “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). This is why we are told to pray for those who have hurt us. In some cases, this person may have already died, but we can still pray for the ability to forgive him or her.
No question, forgiveness isn’t always easy. The pain and the damage done to us can be devastating, leaving us hurt, crippled, broken. Healing will come, if we allow it, but holding on to bitterness and anger and resentment will make healing much harder, if possible at all.
The Cross is the best example of what it cost God Himself to forgive us. If the Lord can go through that for us, even though He knew that so many would, nevertheless, reject Him, then we certainly can learn to forgive, as well.
|Whom do you need to forgive — if not for that person’s sake, then for your own?|