I want to take a minute and talk to you about something that is on my mind quite often. It’s something that many of us forget exists and in doing so, we hurt ourselves even more so in the process.
That thing is forgiveness; it is something that we all struggle with, that eludes us in many areas of our life. We become hard and rigid inside and don’t want to think about forgiving someone who has hurt us or wronged us.
I know this from experience. I have had a lot of people wrong me in my life and I have wronged a lot of people in my life as well. When I think about it, the times I have hurt people the most have been the times I got hurt. In my pain, I wouldn’t let go of that hurt and forgive and it caused me to be bitter, even mad. This feeling wouldn’t let go of me and I felt as if everyone deserved to feel the way I did, so I acted in accordance to make others feel what I was feeling.
I was stuck in a cycle of trying to make myself feel better by making others feel worse. I had a hard time learning how to forgive, and let me tell you, it is something I still struggle with. I think of, most recently, my divorce. I know I I cannot blame her for my divorce happening, it was my fault too, but I do blame her for not trying to even make it work – for giving up. It hurt deep in the identity of who I am, that she didn’t feel I was worth fighting for. I became extremely bitter toward her. It is by far one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.
Now, I am not saying this to condemn her or push blame on her, but I am saying this in recognition that she isn’t in control of who I am as a person, of who I let myself become. Holding onto pain and hurt will only want you to push that pain and hurt onto those around you. There can be no peace as long as there is regret or hurt. Marianne Williamson said it like this:
Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.
It will always hurt to swallow your pride and swallow your hurt, to have the strength of character to forgive someone. That’s exactly what it is too, character. Forgiveness isn’t something that you are born with . We are all sinners, in this world, and having character that I am talking about is not of this world. That character can only be obtained through one person and that is a relationship with the person who knows you even better than you do, your Savior.
Just think about it, God sent His son to this earth to save humanity with the knowledge that His son would have to die. That His son would suffer unbearably and would be ultimately hated and ridiculed. God said YOU were worth it, I can be the bigger man! Imagine that! God knew you before you were born, He knew that you would make mistakes and be imperfect. He knew that people would hurt you just like they would hurt His son. HE DID IT ANYWAY! Even Jesus on the cross was able to forgive the people that stood mocking Him, that crucified Him. He came to earth knowing He would die, knowing He was about His Father’s business. He even asked God to redeem us another way, to take away “this cup” of having to die.
It doesn’t stop there either. On the cross, moments before Jesus died, God turned His back on Jesus. God is so pure and perfect, that as Jesus bridged the gap between humanity and His father in death, God physically couldn’t look at His son because we as a human race are so flawed. Jesus took on, in that moment, every sin of every person. He paid the price for us. We deserve nothing but death. We are vile and imperfect, but in that moment God made a way, through His sacrifice, for us to have a personal relationship with Him. If you have kids, can you imagine something so bad happening to your child that you would be forced to turn away and not even look? Knowing you couldn’t stop it, that what was being done had to be done in order for you to save the same people who were causing your beloved child all that pain? Would you be able to forgive them? Would you be able to love them even?
Ray Pritchard’s view of this is amazing in his post “God Turned Away?”. Have a read and I hope you can understand better, the magnitude of just who God is and How much He loves you!
As a human, this concept is something I have a very hard time even understanding. I cannot fathom the scope of God’s love for me! I know that He loves me, but I don’t know How He could love me. I fail and I mess up and I am exactly the same as those who crucified His beloved all those years ago. I don’t deserve anything but death.
The good news though, God has given me life. I am made new in who He is. I am no longer part of this world, I am part of His world. Because of this, I can be the bigger man. I can forgive when I am wronged. Granted, I am stubborn and still human, but it is within my capacity to do these things. To let people catch just even a small glimpse of who MY GOD is, of what His love means.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.