Forgiveness.. what exactly does this look like? We know that we are forgiven by God .. He created forgiveness and it is a key for us as believers. But what do we do when we are hurt by those around us? We may be told to forgive them the way we are forgiven. That does not always help. We need more dialogue on this topic.
I have had to forgive many people who were close to me in my life and I am working on forgiving my mother right now. She hurt me deeply throughout my life and I first began to forgive her about 30 years ago. The problem is she kept hurting me and she did not seem sorry until very recently.. and even that did not keep her from doing more damage. So the process has been long and involved. I have had to reach out to the Lord over and over for the grace to deal with her and the faith to believe I could truly forgive her. He is meeting me in this process.
One of the keys has been revisiting the pain.. unraveling my story. Seeing the truth about Mom and coming out of denial. Not blaming her but facing the way she truly is. Not trying to change her but understanding her limitations.. the ones that were put on her by her own relationship with her mother. Understanding her story has helped me. Facing my pain has been tough but there is no other way to find freedom. Forgiveness is only possible when we have faced what happened. Otherwise it is a band-aid.. and not a very good one. The pain stays inside and we put on a happy face.
It is much more difficult to forgive when the offender is not sorry.. but I believe it is possible because of the Lord. Do we re-engage with that person and allow them to continue to hurt us over and over? Not if we are healthy. We find the boundary that works for us.. this can range from no contact to occasional contact.. that we monitor carefully. God will help us navigate this road as we pray and ask for guidance on how to handle such a challenging relationship.
Forgiveness is not easy and it may take much longer than we want it to. Sometimes it only happens after the person is gone. It is work and yet it is necessary. The alternative is a heart weighed down with unresolved pain and anger.. anger that turns to bitterness.
Is there someone you want to forgive? Ask God to show you how they hurt you. Grieve over what has happened.. feel the pain. Don’t be afraid. Tell God that you want to forgive.. to be free.. to grow. He will meet you as you agree with Him that this is all good for you. He will be there with you and for you. Trust Him.
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe in Him”