Forgiving The One Who Hurt You
Forgiveness is hard, especially when we’ve been hurt deeply by someone we love. The emotions that come after pain has been inflicted are strong and valid, yet over time, latching onto unforgiveness is not good for anyone.
At one point or another, we will all be faced with the challenge of forgiving, and the struggle to not hold tight to anger, confusion, and resentment. But forgiving those who let us down frees us from the bondage to those emotions, and frees us up to let ourselves love with God’s love even when we are hurting.
There are times when we may not feel like forgiving right away after being hurt, like I talked about in today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion, They Don’t Deserve My Forgiveness. And that’s okay. But overtime, it takes a toll. Not doing so prevents us from moving forward in our own lives, robs us of peace and joy, and prevents the opportunity for reconciliation and restoration of important relationships.
Learning to forgive – especially when our hearts are hurting and our minds are telling us it is not deserved – allows transformation to take place within us. It allows us to take back control of our feelings. and love with a love that can only come through the strength and faith we find in Jesus.
Forgiving is empowering. It takes the power away from hurt and bitterness and gives us the power back over how we feel, act and live. It unbinds us from the hurt and opens the door for God to begin a mighty healing – in us, but also in those who hurt us. Most of us know the passage in Matthew 18 about when Paul asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone, which I talked about in today’s devotion. But another important scripture is found in 2 Corinthians 2:7 which says, “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” True forgiveness leads to healing for BOTH people involved.
I’ve been on the giving end of forgiveness, and also on the receiving end of asking for forgiveness for my own wrong doings. In fact, sometimes accepting and receiving forgiveness for something we did wrong is almost as hard as forgiving someone who hurt us, simply because we also struggle with forgiving ourselves. Yet just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible for either party involved, because all things are possible with God.
Below is the end-of-chapter activity from Chapter Five in my newest book Love Life Again: Finding Joy When is Hard. If you’re struggling with forgiving someone who has hurt you or let you down, consider taking some time to do them.
LOVE YOUR LIFE CHALLENGE #5
Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it and set yourself free.
Who in my life currently, or from my past, am I purposely or inadvertently refusing to forgive? How is my refusal to forgive them impacting how I interact with others, how I feel about myself, and my overall joy and peace?
How might life be different if I set myself free from the prison cell of unforgiveness?
ACT: Consider those people in your life who you have been withholding forgiveness from, then carry out these three steps:
- Write down the person(s) who have hurt you whom you have not been willing or able to forgive.
- Close your eyes and speak the words “Lord, I forgive (insert their name)”. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. You may not feel any different at first, but over time, God will begin moving in your heart and replacing pain with peace.
- When you’re ready, and it might not happen right away, pray for that person. You may not feel like it, but your willingness to pray for them helps set your heart free.
Dear Jesus, You know the shame and regret I feel for the sins in my life – some from my past, and some in the present. I am humbly asking for your forgiveness of all my sins and the ability to let them go and remember them no more. If I have harbored unforgiveness towards someone, open to my eyes to see how that’s affecting my joy and give me the strength to forgive those who have wounded me. In Jesus name, Amen.
SMILE: Buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite fresh flowers and put them in your kitchen in a vase. Each time you catch a whiff of their sweet, pleasing fragrance, remind yourself how loved you are by God and how forgiveness has set you free.
If you’ve ever forgiven someone who you didn’t feel deserved it, will you share how doing so set you free and how God may have used that obedience in your life for good – for you and the one who hurt you? Leave your comments on the blog.