Do you feel they owe you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt and pain they caused? Do you feel bitter, angry and resentful towards them? Do you think they should suffer for what they did? Do you want revenge? If you answer yes to any of these, then you have not forgiven in your heart.
Holding on to unforgiveness will pollute your heart and allow their sin to continue to hurt you. Choosing to forgive does not condone their sin. It doesn’t mean there should be no justice.
There are consequences to sin, but only God is the righteous judge. Release the offender to Him and refuse to harbor negative feelings towards those who have hurt you. If you don’t know how to forgive, seek Jesus. He is faithful to put people in our lives that will help us process the hurts so that we can grieve, accept and release them to the feet of the cross so we can forgive from the heart. That’s true freedom.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:23
Nothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better. The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us.
However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth. The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child. This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us. After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.
People we love and care about sometimes mistreat us, say unkind things to us or about us, verbally or physically abuse us, neglect, ignore, betray, reject, or abandon us. Our first reaction is almost always to personalize it. Please understand that people’s negative behaviors are not about us and everything to do with what is going on inside of them. We cannot react by taking ownership of their negative junk when they act out of their own unhealthy patterns of behavior that we are not responsible for. It will not only hurt us deeply but make us believe lies that affect how we see ourselves.
So what can we do? Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This verse is all about looking within, asking the Lord to examine our own hearts, and not anyone else’s. At the end of the day, all we can do is take ownership and responsibility for our own junk, ask for forgiveness when applicable, and impose healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from allowing others actions to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally, and release them at the foot of the cross. We have to stop giving other people control over our emotions. That just gives unhealthy people way too much power and authority in our lives. And last time I checked, as believers we should only be submitting our hearts and lives over to the love and authority of the Living God.
We can’t make people’s unhealthy issues our issues. When we do that, they own us! Causing us to lose sight of who we are because we are so caught up in them and their drama. They will live rent-free in our heads and consume us. And that only leads to bitterness, anger, and resentments robbing us of our joy, peace, and sanity. That’s no way to live. Choose instead to protect your heart and let Jesus teach you how to respond in a healthy way to those who cause you pain so that you can live in peace and joy regardless of what others do.