Let's face it... we have all been hurt deeply in some way by the people we love most. The deceived society we live in encourages us to seek revenge and get the other person back, but that does not line up with God's word! The truth is that we can't always avoid hurtful situations, but we can choose how we respond to them.
For the first several months after my husband left me for another woman, I was soooo hurt, angry, and even bitter!!! For a while, the thought of both of them literally made me physically sick. I even enjoyed hearing my friends and family talk trash about both of them. I know, I know, that was really bad, huh? I even joined them in the bashing on most occasions. However, I knew in my heart that I didn't want to stay in that angry, bitter state of mind. I needed to be able to let it all go, but I was unsure if I could. I had never been hurt so deeply by anyone before. It felt like it was the ultimate betrayal. As I began to cry out to God for help and comfort, He gently walked me through the process of forgiveness and softened my heart.
First, I had to examine my own heart and repent of my mistakes. God revealed to me the areas where I made poor choices in my marriage. So, I wrote a letter to my husband to seek forgiveness and take responsibility for my mistakes. I also had a phone conversation with the other woman, and I did not represent myself or Christ well to say the least. So, I sent her an email to apologize for being hateful.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." ~ Matthew 5:44
Then, as I began to seek God's word to learn more about forgiveness. I learned that I should begin to pray blessings over both of them. The more I studied, the more I realized that offering forgiveness was part of my healing. I needed to do it to move forward with my life and be able to trust again. I was finally aware that if I kept the anger and bitterness inside, it would take root deep inside of me and change me into someone I didn't want to be.
God showed me that forgiveness was not a feeling, but a CHOICE! So, I started to walk out the choice of forgiveness. You should know that forgiveness didn't happen over night. I had to wake up each day and choose to offer forgiveness again and again through prayer. The more I prayed and asked God to change my heart, the easier it became.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32
We often tend to think of forgiveness as an act of kindness that we offer as a gift to people who seem to deserve it, and withhold this gift from others who seem un-deserving and un-repentant. It tends to give us a sense of power. However, forgiveness truly has nothing at all to do with other people. Forgiveness has everything to do with the person giving forgiveness. It is a choice that we make for ourselves. If you are struggling with offering forgiveness, I encourage you to turn to Jesus. He will cradle you in His arms and help you make the choice to forgive. It is a beautiful gift to give Him and yourself!
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