For the past month I’ve been doing a series on forgivenss. I’ve been so delighted to have author, Tracey Casciano visit and talk about why forgiveness is so important, and guest blogger Jelise Ballon who shared a post on how God is bigger than our pain. I encourage you to follow those links to meet these two inspiring women and read their posts, if you haven’t already. We’ve covered some helpful ground on why we need to forgive others, and it’s all been good.
But, how do we forgive an offense when it still hurts? Even better, how do we forgive someone who has hurt us deeply, when they continue to offend us?
The answer? I don’t exactly know, but I can share what I’ve learned recently…
As I have been preparing to launch my first book, Journey to Heal – a healing guide for women overcoming the ravages of childhood sexual abuse, I have had to deal with some hurtful situations within my extended family concerning my story of abuse. I won’t go into great detail here, out of a desire to protect their privacy, but these situations involve an ongoing denial of my story to the point of suggesting that I made it up.
You don’t have to be a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to know how it feels to not be believed by someone you love.
It has taken me some time to process my emotions about it, as you can imagine. I know that these types of situations can come with the territory of shedding light in dark places, for the sake of others. Ultimately, I am simply trusting God with it all and moving forward in faith.
I suppose it really doesn’t matter what type of an offense it is – small, deep, devastating…they all hurt. What matters is the weight we give it. My pastor talked about this very topic recently. He is doing a series called #wounded and it’s all about learning to forgive God’s way. It’s stepping on my toes more than I thought it would. I suppose, even as believers, we won’t fully grasp the beauty of forgiveness until we see Jesus face to face.
The truth is, the weight we give an offense will determine its impact on our daily lives.
I have discovered three critical action steps to take in order to forgive an offense when it still hurts, and even when I am still being wounded by that offender:
- Take it to God in prayer: “An when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done.” – Mark 11:25
- Trust God to make it right. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19
- Remember who you are in Christ. You have been forgiven, so…“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness paves the way to restoration and healing. It’s not an easy road to walk on. In fact, the terrain is rough and wild at times. But, forgiving our offender(s) will liberate us from carrying the weight of their offense.
In this way, we are free to move forward in what God has for us and to experience the joy of every day life in Him.
I would love to hear from you. How has this series on forgiveness been helpful, and in what way can I pray for you?