The hardest thing for us to do as human beings, is to forgive. There are many good-hearted Christians who find themselves stuck at this one point. Most people have at least one person, if not more, whom they are not able to forgive, because of a wrong that was done against them. A betrayal that was simply too hurtful, or too personal that they simply cannot let it go or move passed it. “Pain” is easily one of the confusing emotions within the entire constitution of a person’s being. And there is no telling how it will cause a person to react. Depending on the circumstance different people will have different reactions to the same pain. So just because you may react one way to pain, doesn’t mean that the next person will react the same way. Some people have stronger constitutions than others. Some have very fragile psyche’s. Some have already experienced a ton of emotional scarring, and hurt, and disappointment, and this final bit of pain, may well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for them. And when that happens, forgiving and moving on, is the hardest thing that anyone could ever ask them to do.
The thing to remember about pain is this, if it happens to you, and your pain has been magnified and reinforced by anger and rage and betrayal, there is only one way for you to be released from that agony, and that is to forgive and to move on. It’s not even about the other person, or any of the people who may be involved, it’s about you being able to move away from that place of pain, before the pain itself becomes an anchor that keeps you bogged down and stuck at a place in your life, that simply will not allow you to progress or prosper in any other areas of your life.
If someone has hurt you in any way, mentally, emotionally or physically, they have already taken up too much of your valuable time. Don’t give them any more of it, by holding on to the anger or the pain, because all it will do is consume you. Consume your mind, consume your time, destroy your focus, and make you unavailable to receive any of the many other blessings that God still has for you.
Scripturally speaking, God has already had His say on the matter.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
If the Lord God, who has given us EVERYTHING, can forgive us for constantly failing at being obedient to His commandments, forgive us for our constant betrayal by falling into temptation, forgive us for the lies that we tell to each other, as well as ourselves, forgive us for our lust, and adultery, and stealing, and coveting, and hateful behaviors, our cursing and taking the Lord’s name in vain, our failure to pray or to come to church, or honoring the Sabbath, if He can forgive us for our violence towards one another, for the way we desecrate His temple, our bodies, with drugs, drinking, fornication and abuse, if He can forgive us for the way we disregard His teachings and His sacrifice, tell me, how is it that we can’t forgive one another for the pettiness that we do to each other? Because what we do in the sight of God every single day, is nothing short of a crime, but He continues to forgive. He continues to love us. He continues to give us chance after chance after chance. If He can forgive us, we can surely forgive each other. We simply have to open our hearts to the love of God, and stop embracing the hatred of man.
Understand what has value, and what does not. A lot of what we think and feel is nothing more than an illusion. We are placing value in things and in issues that have no real relevance or significance to anything concerning God, or to what our true purpose in this life actually is. We are being distracted from our true purpose with pettiness. By understanding our true value, and what is truly valuable to us, individually and as a people, we are better able to focus on the things that truly matter, and to let go of the things that should have never been a part of our lives in the first place. Forgiveness should come to us as naturally as anger does. As naturally as laughter does. There is nothing healthy about clinging onto it. And nothing wise about wanting to keep it around. So, as fast as anger may find its way into your life, you need to be just as quick in ridding yourself of that anger and shedding out some forgiveness.
Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation, where the Holy Spirit convicts you for something that you have done. And the damage that you have caused simply was not repairable. Because of our conscience, you can find yourself in a scenario, where the person that you may need to forgive, IS YOURSELF. This can be incredibly hard. Especially if you are feeling guilt ridden about something that destroyed the life of an innocent. It doesn’t matter how unintentional it was, the grief that we feel is still overwhelming. This is what you need to know;
HOLDING ONTO THAT GUILT
WON’T FIX ANYTHING!
If you want to make things right, find out what it will take to do that, and then work it out, step by step. If you want to replace what was lost, find out what it will take to do that, and then work for it, sponsor a fund raiser, organize with other people to try and compensate the person who was offended or hurt. If you want apologize, there are a million ways that you can do that, both with words, and without words. You can be as creative as you need to be. But sitting on the guilt and punishing yourself, is nothing but self-destructive, and will lead to nothing but more mistakes, more misery, and more time being wasted. It doesn’t matter what it is that you have done, there is always SOMETHING that you can do to try and make up for it, even if it’s nothing but the effort of your trying, but before you can do anything else, you have to mentally and emotionally get yourself in a place where you can forgive yourself. That will clear away the cobwebs in your head so that you can think clearly and figure out what is the next most productive step you can take.
This is an important lesson for us to learn as adults, because more than likely, it is a lesson that we will have to teach our children. The power of forgiveness is like every other lesson they will learn, it is taught to them by seeing done by others. Primarily their parents. What they see and what they hear as children, is what they carry with them over into adulthood. And it will stay locked within them like a holy gospel, whether it is right or wrong. That is why it is so important for us to set good examples for our children. All they know is what they see. So if we don’t show them the difference between right and wrong, then they will never know the difference between right and wrong. If you want your children to grow up with a firm understanding of forgiveness, you have to teach it to them. You have to show them. Once they understand it, they will be able to exercise it. And if you think about it, teaching something as simple as this, really shouldn’t be that hard for a parent. Forgiveness is born out of “love.” So if you love your children, teach them forgiveness.
The beginning of darkness never comes in the form of darkness. It comes disguised as something that looks familiar, something that looks welcoming. It is usually not until the darkness thickens that we finally realize, all too late, that what we are dealing with is blackness to our soul. However, having darkness in you or around you does not signify anything. You always have the option at any time, to stop where you are, to stop what you are doing, and to refocus your light outward again. Remember, wherever there is light, darkness cannot abide. Do not let the darkness of guilt, or anger, or shame, or hate stop you from letting the light of forgiveness shine through you.
Throughout your life, you will discover countless opportunities for you to let your light shine. Sometimes, you may even discover that something that you could not make up for in the past, can be made up for in the present or in the future. The point is, as long as there is life, there is hope. And as long as there is hope, there is promise. Live long enough, and you will see that there is nothing that you cannot do, if you are determined to do it. So never lose hope, never lose faith, never lose your ability to forgive, because it is never too late to start over again. It is never too late to try. All it takes is a sincere heart. If you have that, you have everything that you will need.