Thursday, August 2, 2012

Learning to Forgive

There was something I always struggled with in my Christian life.  It was learning to forgive.  How can I trust someone who has continuously hurt me over and over again?  How could I ever deal with what that person did to me?  I never really realized that I was holding a grudge or not forgiving those I had let into my heart who had hurt me. 

One time, I said to my mom in a moment of sadness and rage that I wished I had never loved someone who had hurt me to the core.  I had given them my heart, and they ripped in two.  She told me, “Emerald, if you quit loving people, you’ll distance yourself from God and won’t let Him in because GOD IS LOVE.” 

That’s when I realized that no matter how much someone has hurt me, the most important thing was to forgive them for what they did so I could start the healing process.  Was it easy?  Gosh no!  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  And, to be honest, I didn’t even realize I had not forgiven these people.  I thought I had, but true forgiveness wasn’t given.  I poured my heart out to God and finally forgave those that hurt me.  

I’m currently reading a book called “Let Go” by Sheila Walsh.  In that book, she talks about forgiving and the trap of unforgiveness.  She said a lot of brilliant things.  But these really rang true with me.  “…if we want to live free in Christ’s love, we must forgive.” 

Also, “I believe we can only really forgive when we acknowledge the depth to which we have been wounded and allow ourselves to ‘own’ the pain….[to]face the truth that we are wounded.”

And “We need to accept that we live in a world where at times pain is just part of the package.  When we humbly admit that we are wounded and allow ourselves to feel that pain, only then can we bring it to Christ for healing and begin the process of forgiveness.”

These are just three quotes in an entire chapter that makes you see how forgiving and letting go and letting God can bring about healing of the pain we’re struggling with. 

I know it’s hard.  I want to hold grudges and hate the people who have hurt me, but that isn’t the best way to live.  We have to love because GOD IS LOVE!  Learning to love and not hate is something that will come about once we experience true forgiveness for the pain caused in our lives.

Now, I want to talk about something that isn’t related to others.  It’s about learning to forgive ourselves.  We can hate ourselves for the mistakes that we have made or for other reasons.  But the fact is, we can forgive others, but true forgiveness also requires for us to forgive ourselves! 

Why shouldn’t we extend the same forgiveness towards ourselves that we give to others?  God has forgiven us of our sins once we repent of them and forgotten them.  Why can’t we?  Because we’re human.  But once we give our burdens to Christ, forgive ourselves, we can move on and be free of pain!  Isn’t that something to look forward to?!  Not hurting… To be pain free.  To move on with our lives?! 

That sounds like a good idea to me.  I know that pain lasts much longer than we ever want it to, and as clichéd as it is, time will heal all wounds.  But there are things that we must learn to let go of in order to start the healing process.  And, forgiving others and ourselves is part of that. 

We can’t shut out God.  He wants to help us.  He wants us to forgive others.  He wants us to forgive ourselves.  He loves us.  He wants us to be happy and free!  Freedom is in Him, but it’s important for us to forgive in order to be free!    

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