I only Forgive when I feel like It

“So you have to forgive them, right? That’s what you teach and preach.  Isn’t it?”  The words sliced through the silence and hung there, waiting for a response.  All kinds of thought and feelings were racing through my brain – I don’t think fast on my feet, but I wanted to reply very carefully.

“Of course, we forgive.  No matter what. That is what we teach and we will live up to it.”

Have you ever been hurt by someone, either an action or some carelessly, or in some circumstances, deliberately said words?  Many times, the one who has hurt you doesn’t even realize it – they either just go on their merry way, callously living their lives in such a way that the just step over the ones scraped up beneath them – or, they have hurt without any intention of doing so.  Still, the hurt remains.  No matter which type of pain is inflicted, small or so deep that it leaves scars, you are left to pick up the pieces and move on.

Here’s the thing:

Colossians 3:13, says:

13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.

Ok, OUCH.  Well, I’ll forgive them if they ask for forgiveness.  Then I’ll know they are sorry. See – that’s what the Bible says:

Luke 17:3

So be careful what you do….Correct any s of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person.

There is that.  AND, it makes it pretty easy on us, right? That way, we can still go on having bad feelings about the other person, nursing that hurt until it becomes bitterness, yes, only if they ask, do we need to forgive, right?

So what do you do with the following verses?

Mark 11:25-26

25 And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgiveonly then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

Matthew 6:15

15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Again, OUCH!

It can be truly difficult to forgive someone.  You may end up with an uncomfortable relationship from that point on.  You may not want to be around them, (and in some cases, this might be a good thing, especially right after this has taken place.)

  • Your willingness to forgive is the first step.  After all God has done for us, what His Son, Jesus, did for us, our willingness should be there, ready and waiting for us to make the right choice.
  • Secondly, taking the actual step, praying a prayer of forgiveness to God for that person, letting Him know that you are taking it to the next level.
  • Third, mean it.  This part can be the most difficult.  You may need to tell God that you want to mean it and that you need His help in getting it to be sincere. When those tormented thoughts arise, that is your cue to take it back to Him in prayer, asking for His help, once again, to make this right.
  • Release.  Ugh.  This is so difficult to do, but to live a full life of peace and joy, it is necessary, no matter how long it takes you to release it.  The following verse is good to help with this point, and keeping our priorities in line.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

We live surrounded by people. We are going to get hurt by some. Let’s get over it and move on with our lives.  As a very wise man always used to say, “Build a bridge and get over it!”

May God’s heart be even more tender and full of love for you as you work on this area of your life.

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