by Tim Howard
Jesus taught His disciples to ask for forgiveness. He said: “When you pray…. say Forgive us our sins as we also forgive everyone who sins against us”
I have discovered many truths about God over the years that go far beyond the fact that He is truly alive, active and involved in the lives of people. God loves people, God is all-powerful, God is just, God is faithful even when we are faithless and God never gives up on us – just to name a few.
One of life’s great truths about God is tremendously liberating and life altering. He is forgiving!
If it weren’t for His forgiveness, none of us could have a relationship with Him. For that matter, you couldn’t have any long-term relationship with anyone. My marriage would never have survived had my wife chosen to not forgive me for the hurt I caused her. My family relationships with my sons would have been destroyed had we not offered mutual forgiveness at various times.
Un-forgiveness is the tether that holds you prisoner to your past hurts. It will keep you from soaring above and beyond adversity and challenges. At times it may feel right to choose un-forgiveness rather than forgiveness because the pain of the hurt goes so deep but the ramifications are negative and long lasting.
Maybe you hurt someone and they won’t forgive you. Your relationship is over! Possibly someone has injured you emotionally or relationally and you won’t forgive them. The result is the same – separation and devastation.
Forgiveness brings healing to hurts and we all get hurt now and again. There are physical hurts but there are emotional hurts as well. Beyond that, I believe relational hurts cause the deepest pain.
Hurts happen because of what people say to us and think about us. That old adage “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” is simply untrue. Words hurt and can be conveyed in non-verbal ways as well. Words can kill your spirit, wound your emotions and divide good friends.
Hurts happen because of what people do to us. The Bible is full of stories and you have many examples of times when people did something to you that brought much pain. Maybe they betrayed you or cheated you or lied to you. Whatever it was, it hurt.
One of the worst ways of dealing with hurt is to repress it. Minimize it. Ignore it. A man by the name of Absalom did just that when a family member was taken advantage of – you can read about it in 2 Samuel 13 –He kept it inside – repressed it for two years and finally exploded by him killing the person who did the offense.
It’s best to talk about the hurt. Talk to God first! Then find a trusted friend to talk with. If you don’t talk it out, you will take it out. You will take it out on your family, your co-workers, your wife or husband because hurt kept inside grows resentment and bitterness. You will not find any closure on past hurts without disclosure.
Communicating with God about your hurts allows Him to bring healing and enables you to forgive. It was refreshing this week to hear of a family who forgave a woman who caused tragedy by drinking and driving. Their daughter was killed needlessly but they dealt with hurt by forgiving. Hurt people – hurt people but forgiving people bring help and hope to people. Choose to be forgiving!