We have all been wronged, hurt or heartbroken at some point in our lives. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. We live in a broken world, full of broken people. We are all selfish in our own right, but some people allow the selfishness to control their lives, eventually hurting others in unimaginable ways.
Once the pain has been inflicted, we have two choices: to heal or to marinate in the pain. Certainly, the healing process is different for everybody and I’m not trying to minimize the deep scars that can often take years to repair. I’m just presenting the crossroads that are undeniable as we face the decision to press forward.
Forgiveness. That word alone can evoke many emotions. It has been used in a loose, flippant way over the years. It’s a word that is often kept in a box and pasted onto Hallmark cards. It’s much more than that really.
First off, let me explain what forgiveness is NOT. It is not a free pass given to the person who hurt you. In other words, it doesn’t validate or release the other person from the pain caused.
As far as I’ve experienced, forgiveness means freedom. The freedom isn’t from the mental, physical or spiritual scars left necessarily….although it certainly can be. The freedom is from the person who caused the pain. Holding on to the person who caused the transgressions takes effort. It takes energy, both emotional and physical. It’s as though, by not forgiving someone, we are able to control the situation that has already occurred. All that does is replay the pain over and over again, every day. It’s not a burden that we are meant to carry.
I picture a tug-o-war battle. The person who caused the pain on one end and you on the other. As long as you are both holding onto the rope, you’re connected in some way, to whatever painful past that you had together. Forgiveness is letting go of the rope. Releasing the grip, turning around and moving forward. The memory of the connection is still there, but the rope is on the ground. Your hands are now free to embrace healing. That’s how I see it.
As a Christian, my main motivation to forgive is based on what Jesus Christ did for me….He forgave me and offered me eternity….and I accepted.
I’m called to offer that same forgiveness to others. It truly goes against every grain of natural inclination. Only by God’s strength can I even fathom truly moving forward with love still in my heart. It’s a supernatural thing that I can’t explain, but I’m thankful for it.
Please join me in letting go of the rope. It’s a daily choice, but it’s a choice worth making. We’re meant to thrive in the freedom that only God can provide. Let the past rest in the palms of our Maker and He’ll take care of the rest.
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”-Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)