Have you ever harbored hatred or anger in your heart towards another person? Has a loved one ever betrayed you, violated your trust, or hurt you? If you can answer yes to these questions, you more than likely have wrestled with unforgiveness. Christians are commanded to love and forgive. This can be difficult to say the least.
Have you ever experienced shame when feeling hatred or anger towards others because you know good and well that Christians are commanded to love, even their enemies? I have, and as a result, I denied feelings of hatred and anger, ignored them, and pushed them deeper into the recesses of my heart. Out of sight-out of mind, right? Wrong! These feelings will continue to rear their ugly heads and haunt those who do not acknowledge and deal with them.
Did you know that love and hatred can both be present in one’s heart?
Take the time to watch this brief video of Corey Ten Boom. Click here: Corey Ten Boom video on forgiveness
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
Even my hero of the faith, Corey Ten Boom, could not love in her own strength. Man’s love could never possibly match the love of God. I am comforted in knowing that I do not have to rely on my own limited ability to love others, especially those who have hurt me. The Lord knows we are not capable of this. This is why He shed his love abroad in our hearts. My hope is in God’s supernatural love. It is His love that overcomes.
The key to change is not in denying or hiding our hatred, but in acknowledging, confessing the bitterness and unforgiveness. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. (1 John 1:9 AMP) I imagine myself standing before the light of God’s Glory, knowing this hatred is exposed, confessing it as sin and thanking Him that He has already exchanged it for His love. I trust the promise of His supernatural love being shed abroad in my heart.
Many cannot forgive because they believe forgiving is the same as excusing. In fact, forgiveness does not excuse the sin. I have spent years wrestling with this topic. You can take this as ‘Jenny’ology, but in studying the scriptures, in silent meditation, in listening to God’s instruction, this is what I have come to understand. Every single sin has to be dealt with, no matter how big or small. God as judge is so thorough that not one iota of a sin will be ignored. He provided forgiveness to every man who repents and trusts in the enormous sacrifice of His Son Jesus, our scapegoat. Justice came by Jesus’s suffering and death. Every one of our sins was paid for so we could be pardoned. Many, though will not trust in the work of the cross, nor will they repent. So, they will pay for their sins and for the sin of rejecting Jesus.
Every single sin has an effect on someone or something. Obviously it affected Jesus when He took our sins upon Himself, but sin hurts people too. When someone has sinned against you, it is right to confront them (the manner in which you approach is important). If they repent, we are absolutely commanded to forgive them. It is harder to do so when they are unrepentive. We are still commanded to forgive though. I have found that understanding these few points helps.
1. As Christians, we forgive because we have been forgiven of more. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Mat. 6: 14-15)
2. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. We trust that God will repay us for the injustice. In a remarkable twist, the Lord orchestrated this in the life of Corey Ten Boom to the extent that her Nazi captor later became a Christian begging Corey Ten Boom’s forgiveness even while showing her much favor.
3. Ultimately, All sins are against God alone, not us. After King David committed murder and adultery he prayed, “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment.” (Psalm 51:4 AMP) If we cast our care upon the Lord, we free ourselves from the burden of bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. We give it to the Lord who is exceptionally more than capable of handling the situation. When we hold onto it, it is an act of pride, believing we can bring about justice better than the Father. We also in a sense, hold back the hand of God to work in our life. The Lord will not force us to cast our burdens upon Him. Below are two scriptures of people who refused to let God work in their lives for lack of trust in Him.
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. (Psalm 78:41 KJV)
Jesus did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58 KJV)
4. Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean you are required to trust them. The Bible is full of stories of restitution. If you have hurt someone, asking their forgiveness is only the first step. You are required to do what it takes to restore that relationship and make amends. On the flip side, if someone who has hurt you refuses to repent or make restitution, leave it God’s hands and deal with the anger or bitterness by casting your care upon the Lord. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 AMP) Only the Lord can weigh the motives of a man’s heart. Only the Lord knows the intimate detailed past of individuals. He alone can see the unseen and judge rightly.
5. Trust in God to heal your wounds. He heals the broken hearted and He is the God that heals you.
6. Do not be ignorant of the enemy’s schemes. Satan will tempt and influence people to hurt you so that ultimately you will stumble in your walk with God. Do not play his game. We overcome evil with good.
If you need encouragement or prayer as you walk through the steps of forgiveness, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to be there for you.
Many Blessings to You!!