Forgiving when it is not easy
Have you ever felt that some things are just plain impossible to forgive? Have you ever been so hurt by someone that you just can’t see past the hurt and pain in your own heart? Well I have. The road to forgiveness is not an easy road let me tell you, but it is one that is worth it in the end. Let me tell you one of my stories.
The year 2015 will always go down as one of the most difficult years in my life. I believe I will always remember it for as long as I live. It was the year that I lost my brother. He was murdered. One sunny Sunday afternoon in broad daylight in front of many witnesses he was stabbed to death right in front of a local shop. This happened a day before his 38th birthday. The laws in our country of South Africa are not what they should be and the implementation of the law is even worse. Therefore even though my brother was killed in front of witnesses and the killer handed himself over to the police – he is still walking around free! Yes, three years later and we have never even heard his actual reasons for killing my brother as he has never even talked in court. The case was just postponed everytime and eventually, it was thrown out of court, because they were waiting for the forensic reports (it was running late) and because the witnesses are scared to testify. But that’s a whole other story.
This situation was just so very traumatic for me. I felt crushed. Have you ever felt so sad in your life that you feel as if something was physically crushing you? That is how I felt. I was angry and hurt. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Suddenly I didn’t have my big bro anymore. Suddenly I had to help my mother identify him at the mortuary on his birthday the day after he was killed! So many suddenly’s. My mother lost her only son. It was chaos.
But through it all, I knew as a Christian what the “right” thing to do was. I knew I had to forgive. I just didn’t know how, especially when I felt so very angry. I would drive in my car and the tears would just roll down my face uncontrollably. It was rough. I was a mess.
I started pressing deeper into God’s word. I decided that I needed to forgive, no matter what it took from me. Why? Because I knew that if I didn’t, that the hurt and anger would fester and spill over into other areas of my life. I also knew that if I allowed that to happen then it would mean that the devil had won. He would then destroy me and my family, hurt my children, steal my joy and so many other ugly things could have happened, because of hurt and anger. And I was not going to allow that to happen.
Getting even instead of forgiving
When we are hurting then we want to hurt the person who caused us hurt and pain to hurt just as much as what we are hurting. But that is not what God wants us to do. Ephesians 4:31-32 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I needed this scripture so much then because malice sure was on my heart back then! Yes, it wasn’t easy to forgive, but it certainly was worth it. Romans 12:19 says: “Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. Don’t take the law into your own hands”
What happens when we forgive?
When we forgive we go free. Plain and simple. The person who did us wrong no longer has a hold over us. We can move on with our lives. It doesn’t mean that we forget what happened or that we are ignorant and will allow the person to continue to hurt us. It also doesn’t mean that you keep the issue over that person’s head and bring it up every time it suits you. It simply means that you are letting go and letting God take over. The moment I decided to let go and forgive, I literally felt as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
What also happens when we forgive is that we put ourselves in line to receive from God whatever we are believing Him for. Mark 11:22-25 New International Version (NIV): “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 3 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” It is not a coincidence that verse 25 follows on the previous ones, it is because there is a direct connection between receiving from God and your willingness to forgive those who have done you wrong. Can you see what you will be missing out on if you don’t forgive? Forgiveness is to your benefit!
Steps to get you there:
- Make a quality decision that you will forgive no matter how you may feel. Feeling has got nothing to do with it. It comes down to your obedience to God’s Word. And when you honour God’s Word, He will honour you.
- Ask God to “take” the hurt and anger from you. Hand it over to God.
- Pray and ask God to help you daily.
Please also check out these recommended books for a more in-depth study on forgiveness(click for more info).
You might have to keep doing these steps over and over. But don’t lose heart. Just keep on keeping on.