It’s not easy to let go of the wounds we’ve suffered, to extend God’s forgiveness and grace to others — even when we know how desperately we need it ourselves. Our hearts hurt too much. But holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness is far more damaging to us than it could ever be to those we’ve come to see as our enemies.
“God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth.” ~ Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark in The Help
Start by being honest – by telling yourself and Jesus the truth. Tell the truth about what happened and how you feel about it – how you really feel. Jesus won’t be shocked or horrified, I promise. He already knows. But until you know, until you’re honest with Him and with yourself, you can’t even begin to heal.
Remember that forgiveness is a process. It takes time to sort through all the thoughts and feelings, to learn to deal with painful memories, and to find (and stay in) an emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy place.
It often helps to talk to someone you can trust, someone who can give you perspective and be a good sounding board for you. It helps when you can pray for the people who have wounded you. It helps to remember that Jesus isn’t asking you to do anything He didn’t already do.
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps…When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when he suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:20-23)
I’ve experienced this kind of outcome, too. It’s better, a lot better. But it’s not as good as it gets. Sometimes – sometimes – there is the incredible, miraculous, supernatural intervention of God. A couple of broken, mixed-up, messed-up people humble themselves before Him and before each other. And they experience His divine power to forgive.
Deeply, truly, freely.
The forgiveness is flowing. The love is flowing. The mercy is flowing. The grace is flowing. The tears are flowing. Boy, are they flowing!
And the healing begins. There may have been a series of trembling, hesitant steps leading up to this point – and a series of cautious, careful steps afterward. But the point is, the relationship not only survives but thrives. It’s stronger than ever.
Don’t let your wounds turn you into a person you are not. Let go of bitterness and unforgiveness, so you can be free to be the woman God created you to be.
Thank you, Christin, for blessing us with your powerful words.
Christin would like to send an autographed copy of her book to the winner of the drawing. To be entered, all you have to do is put in a comment here on the blog or email me: Kathyspeak AT gmail DOT COM. I’ll pick the winner Monday evening, February 15th, 2016. I’m sorry that we can only include in the drawing those with USA addresses.
Update! CONGRATULATIONS to Joanie Cain, the winner of Christin’s book. Joanie: please email your mailing address to me: kathyspeak AT gmail DOT COM.
Christin Ditchfield is a popular conference speaker, syndicated radio host, and author of more than 66 books, including What Women Should Know About Letting It Go: Breaking Free From Guilt, Discouragement, and Defeat. You can connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, or her blog, www.ChristinDitchfield.com.