Sunday, January 27, 2013


The comment:
What do you do when you have been hurt by someone, say you have told God in your heart that you forgive this person and have said the same to the person. I thought I had forgiven, but then thought it was important to pray for the person as God asks us to pray for those who have wronged us. The problem is that as much as I want to pray for this person as its the right Christian thing to do, I can't very easily bring myself to do it. Mainly for the simple fact that this is the person who hurt me and a part of me doesn't want to see anything wonderful happen to this person while I'm still sulking in my pain. I feel bad because part of me feels like I won't be able to say I've fully forgiven until I can honestly wish and pray great things for this person. Am I the only one who struggles with this? I still care but am still very much hurting.
I hear you.
I've been here. Sometimes I still feel like I'm here. Hurt and wanting justice for the wrongs done to me. And, even if I'm not wanting bad stuff to happen to those who have hurt me, it doesn't necessarily mean that I want good for them. In these moments I feel like I haven't really forgiven them at all...

I kind of think it's bogus though. As much as I'd love for us to forgive once and have that be the end of the story, I think it's going to be something that we have to fight for. Sometimes the fight is daily, depending on the crime. Just because we don't always feel like we want lollipops and sunshine for those who have hurt us, it doesn't mean that we haven't forgiven them.

I'm not convinced forgiveness is a feeling, despite what the dictionary says.  In fact, I think this is something the enemy can jack with us about. We get all emotional and feel okay with someone in a moment and so we think we've truly forgiven them. A few days (or seconds or hours) later we are reminded of something and suddenly we're ticked again... there goes the forgiveness we thought we had granted. We begin to beat ourselves up over the fact that we haven't forgiven them at all and then we exist in guilt and shame for our inability to forgive like Christ forgives us.

I kind of think that a large part of why we are asked to pray for those who have hurt us or wronged us is for transformation to happen in our own heart. That when we are willing to sit down and spend time surrendering this bitterness in our hearts, light begins to infiltrate the darkness within us. That when we take time to consider the state of where the other person is or where they have come from, understanding begins to unfold. And while we still may be extremely hurt by their actions, we may be able to empathize with them when we remember that they are human, too. That, like us, they are sinners. We remember that the same grace that has been extended to us has also been given to them.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that most of the time we're probably not going to have these awesome feelings about the people who have hurt us. This is where, regardless of how we feel, we have to be people who walk in obedience. Forgiving. Praying for your 'enemies'. And, in these moments, I truly think transformation happens. Because when we are willing to pray for them, we're essentially inviting the Lord to move in this broken part of our hearts. Restoration is easier to come by when we are open to allowing it to happen.

Regardless of how you feel toward the people that have hurt you, I think it's vital to make it a point to pray for them. And don't be afraid to be honest when you pray. I think the Lord can handle it. I imagine some of my prayers have been pretty brutal: 'Father, I don't even care about this person right now and I don't want good for them... but you've asked me to pray for them and so I will. I don't even know what to pray for...' and eventually, the words come and true meaning comes from them. I find myself praying that they would know Him, truly know Him. That they would be walking faithfully in that. It's not even that I'm praying that they would get everything their heart desires...but I'm praying that they, too, would have a heart that longs to know Jesus and be obedient to Him, that they would truly learn to live a life of surrender. In the end, it's not too different from prayers I pray for myself. And you just do it. Even when you don't want it. Even when you aren't feeling all chummy toward them. Don't allow yourself to get lost in the emotions of what you think forgiveness should feel like. Just do it.

Because, at the end of the day, they matter.
Whatever wrongs they've committed against you, they aren't big enough for you condemn their soul to hell when you, yourself, are also a sinner, a thief, a betrayer, an abandoner, an adulterer, a idolator, a pharisee, a liar...

Forgive as you have been forgiven.
There's no other alternative.
And then, as you forgive... rejoice!...for you are truly exemplifying the Gospel, and that is the most beautiful, the most important thing.

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  1. That was very encouraging, thanks! I think at times we forget that we can be honest and raw with God about how we truly feel. It's not as if God doesn't know exactly how we feel anyways but it's always a nice reminder that I can be honest, completely honest with God about how I feel and how I'm hurting.

  2. It's not the forgiving part I have a hard time with's the forgetting. I've noticed this especially when I'm tired and stressed and...vulnerable.

  3. My husband abandoned me with 1 day's notice a couple years ago. He hasn't spoken to me since. Not a day goes by that I don't feel the pain of that abandonment, yet I've forgiven him. We were married 12 years and I was a good and faithful wife. So it isn't a matter of forgiving, because I have, it's a matter of trying to get past hurting.