“You make me sick, you will never amount to anything, you are such a loser!” My lips began to quiver and my eyes started to swell with tears as I read the condemning text message I had received. What made it even more hurtful and unbearable was that the words were from a Christian friend, someone who I truly loved and respected.
I could not believe the spiteful verbal assault being lashed out at me from someone I called a friend and I thought supported my marriage. Fear, anger, and bitterness began to consume me … my emotions were in such turmoil. As I glanced in the car mirror at my swollen eyes, and flushed red cheeks, the words began to replay in my mind over and over again and choke out any positive thought I had of my husband and I restoring our marriage. I felt completely abandoned and alone and began to have a total meltdown.
The sharp, biting words came at a time in my life several years ago when my husband and I were struggling in our marriage. I will not deny that some of the accusations hurled my way were partly true. Involved emotionally with a male friend and under strong conviction, I already felt like I was being attacked in every area of my life. For months, even after reconciliation with my husband, I would pull the words up on my phone and rehash them. I allowed the message in that text to take charge over my crushed, low self-esteem and in all honesty, I chose to hold onto the hurts to the point of where I became miserable.
I sense in my spirit that there are many of you reading this who also have been the victim of harsh words. Maybe they were shared by a friend, a family member, a co-worker or even your spouse. I can think of several occasions when my husband and I were tired, frustrated, overcommitted with good things, dealing with uncertainty or even a financial burden, that we didn’t think before we spoke and instead we lashed out at each other. You know that is a numbing kind of pain. You hold onto those words and you begin to harbor feelings of resentment. I have even been guilty of the "word war game." You know what I mean...if he is going to throw harsh words my way, I will make him pay deeply! So I don’t speak to him for days, ignore him or even withhold sex as a punishment. In the end, no one wins, the problem is not resolved and it leads to deeper hurts.
My friend, not only is unforgiveness a sin, but it will eat at you and eventually destroy you. I read recently thatmedical science has linked a failure to forgive with all kinds of ailments, including stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, back aches, stomach distress, diabetes, hypertension and even heart problems. May I just get candid with you? I have learned that forgiveness is not easy, but it is also not optional - our Lord commands it in Matthew 6:14 as a prerequisite for our own sins being forgiven.
Forgiveness can’t be based on a feeling. You have to make the choice to forgive. I will not lie, there have been times that I just did not “feel” like forgiving, the pain was so haunting. Often times my pain did not subside until I made that choice. You may be thinking but I was wronged, I was hurt, how will I ever forget what they did to me? Truth is, you may never fully forget. Honeychild, if someone hurt one of my children or did something harmful to one of my family members, you bet your bottom dollar it would be hard to forget!
Granting forgiveness is not saying you are letting this person off the hook. It is saying instead,I choose to obey God. I can’t handle this anymore by myself, I can’t solve this, Father GOD, I am placing this situation in Your hand and I am trusting You to take care of it. When you forgive, you are letting go. You will no longer allow this incident to control your thoughts, change you or hurt you any longer. You are giving up your right to hurt that person back. You release this hurt and vengeance to God.
Do you need to forgive someone? Maybe you need to seek someone's forgiveness? Ask God to lead you today to release it to Him.
......forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Some of our favorite books to help you in your journey of forgiveness:
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