But You Don’t Know What Happened to Me..
Allow me to be vulnerable with you all in this post in order to illustrate how God can heal us from unforgiveness if we truly open ourselves up to His power. Forgiveness isn’t an easy undertaking especially when you have been the victim of a vile offense. I know right away some of you may be thinking “but you don’t know what happened to me”. You are right! But I do know what happened to me and if God can remove unforgiveness from my heart, then I know He can with you. Besides, just because you were the victim doesn’t mean in God’s eyes you are off the hook with forgiveness.
At age six, my step-dad molested me. Consequently, my mom left him and I moved in with my dad. Not long after, she remarried him. Yep, you read right. She remarried the same man that molested me. I couldn’t fathom how she could do something so reprehensible. For most of my childhood and all of my teenage years they were married and carried on as if nothing happened. Fear and hurt developed into anger and unforgiveness as I continued to have to be in contact with them by participating in court-ordered visitation.
Parents are supposed to love and protect children, right? For some of us, though, it doesn’t happen that way. When it doesn’t, it can feel impossible to move forward when we are so deeply hurt by the people we love the most. Honestly, you will never be able to forgive anyone for anything no matter how small the offense if you are relying totally on your own strength to do so.
I knew that forgiving them just as God had forgiven me was essential (Ephesians 4:32). However, I was 21 before I was able to truly let God do a work on my heart and I could start the process of forgiveness. Your battle with forgiveness may not be a story of betrayal by loved ones. Maybe it’s church hurt, unkindness you’ve received, or even abuse in your life. Regardless the root of your unforgiveness, here are three scriptures that you can hold onto to successfully navigate through the process of forgiveness.
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…”
1.Healing ensues when we are honest about our hurt. Just say it! Tell a close friend or mentor that you are struggling in this area. Prayer produces the power that you need to be healed from unforgiveness and it’s even more powerful when it’s directed toward those who hurt us.
Matthew 6:14 “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you…”
2.God will not forgive and free us if we’re unwilling to forgive others. It’s just that simple. Lord knows that we will need to be forgiven on a regular basis for something we’ve done.
Psalms 103:10-14 “He has not dealt with us according to our sins…As high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. He has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west…He knows our frame and remembers we are dust.”
3. In an effort to be like Christ and deepen our relationship with him, we must acquire his attitude towards forgiveness and extend the same God kinda mercy towards others.
Forgiveness is critical to a thriving relationship with Christ. When you cannot forgive, you become a slave to the person that offended you. How so? You have in essence given that person the power over your mood, thoughts and emotions. That’s too much power for anyone to have other than Jesus. The good news is that Jesus understands our difficulty with this and will give us grace to forgive, no matter how deep the pain. Trust me, I know!