Many offenses, insults and abuses come our way. The hurtful experiences tend to cause wounds that disturb our mental health. Festering irritations feed a sense of haunting anger and bitterness, stirring stress and anxiety, short circuiting our well-being!
What do we do with the hurts in our life? You may ask with the prophet Jeremiah (15:18):
“Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?”
The incurable wounds and perpetual pains we live with have become as captive pits. Our resulting emotional pain contaminates and muddies our interaction with each other, and with God. But, God has the solution!
The Fix is in
The Good News is; we can be free from these lingering irritations. We can be released from the pain of our hurts and not remain emotional victims to mistreatment. What brings our release?
Scripture gives us an often overlooked key, which is found in “why” God forgives. Our heavenly Father’s love for us is so complete that He ‘is’ a forgiver; He was before the foundations of our world (1 Peter 1:20-21). Yes, even before we gave Him a reason to forgive.
Our heavenly Father ‘is’ a forgiver.
The principle of forgiveness originates in God’s loving nature. His loving grace and mercy toward us is more than any of us deserves. The overlooked key: God forgives “for His own sake.”
“I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake…” (Isaiah 43:25).
Calvary’s sacrifice was to illustrate to our confused mind how fully God forgives – the whole world. God’s forgiveness insures He does not suffer from any lingering hurts that would result from our rejection of Him. He is not victimized by any haunting and degrading side effects of guilt, shame, anger, bitterness. Instead, God fully and completely forgives our waywardness!
Forgive the person, not the offense
Offenses do come and what is said and done cannot be undone. (Actions bring consequences.) It is important however, to realize we forgive the person, not the offense. Forgiveness is not an effort to excuse or ignore an offense. Instead, we forgive for our own sake, rather than remain a victim.
Everyone makes mistakes; it’s part of life. However, when we do not forgive, we insanely choose to be hurt over and over by the ill side effects of shame, anger and bitterness. Does anyone really want to be held captive to an offender’s error or remain in their mess?
Rather than remain a victim, we forgive the person.
God instructs and empowers us to emulate His heart and forgive like He does, freely and without reserve (Micah 7:18-19). As the originator of forgiveness, our heavenly Father is always ready to help us become forgivers and live free of the hurts and side effects.
Freedom is a process
Forgiving an offender is what releases us from the hurts. Our forgiving action invites the Great Healer to come and help us root out the lingering hurts that erode our emotional health. In this way, we become the primary benefactors of our forgiving action as we are freed from our pain.
Initially, forgiving can be hard work. Deep seated hurts from old offenses do not easily uproot and often require serious efforts over a period of time. You may have to consciously forgive each time the offender comes to mind, forgiving over and over again, until you no longer feel anger or bitterness. It’s worth it!
Our forgiving action invites the Great Healer to come and help ‘us’ root out lingering hurts.
You are fully released and forgiveness is complete when you can sincerely pray God’s blessings upon them. The great good that “God works out” in our forgiveness of hurtful abuses and offenses is twofold:
- We are freed from the hurt and released from its side effects
- We partake of eternity when we forgive as God forgives
Disciplined forgivers do not respond to the situations of the day by judging and condemning. We partake of God’s eternal nature and simply forgive. We overcome and live above the mess!
Free from hurts
God does not want any of us to be victims of abuse. If you are continually being abused, seek help and find a way out. Escaping will allow your forgiving activity to release you from all the residual effects.
In fact, when we are forgivers, new offenses will no longer penetrate and be hurtful. Instead, like water on a duck’s back, they just roll off. So, when offenses come, and they will; in your mind just say, “quack, quack” and move forward in forgiveness.
Jesus showed us how victims can be forgivers. In the midst of mistreatment, he prayed:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
We understand God’s forgiveness is our invitation to repent and receive His grace to change. In the same way, our forgiveness of one another can be an appealing invitation for abusers and offenders to repentantly change their ways. Just remember, our personal release is the reason to forgive.
Our personal release is the reason to forgive.
You can be free from the hurts that negatively impact your mental and emotional health. You can choose to stop re-digging those angry pits of destruction. What could be better than to be released from your bondage? God is ready to help you do it!
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder