The link below is a daily devotion I get in my email (among many others). This one is written by Rick Warren, whom I’ve mentioned numerous times in previous blogs.
This particular one is about forgiveness, a touchy subject for many.
This particular article talks about forgiveness in a general way, but it applies to the specific.
There are many hurts that can happen that don’t deserve forgiveness. For the most part, no hurts do deserve forgiveness unless they were accidents. But as Pastor Warren said there is no moving forward without forgiveness.
Unforgiveness towards others doesn’t hurt them anyway and that is, in my opinion, the primary motive for unforgiveness. We want to hurt the person who hurt us so we bear a grudge against them. But does it hurt them? Of course not! They probably don’t even know about it.
What unforgiveness really does is give power to the one who did the hurting and takes all the power away from the one who was hurt.
Let me give an example:
A woman is raped by a stranger. She never sees his face so she can’t even have him put in jail for it. A horrible, brutal thing to happen to anyone.
Now she is angry. Angry at the physical and emotional pain this man put her through. Angry at the inability to exact any revenge or justice for what happened to her.
Who could blame her? And she has decided to never forgive him for what he did.
What will happen to this woman? How will her life continue on from this point?
The answer is, it won’t.
Unforgiveness puts us in a cage. A cage where the offender can hurt us over and over and over again. And we are powerless to stop it.
But what if she forgave this man who stole a piece of her soul?
Unforgiveness is sin. And sin inhibits God’s ability to work in our lives. God does what we allow Him to do. If we hold onto pain and unforgiveness in our hearts we are not allowing God access to the place where we really need healing.
Forgiveness gives freedom to the forgiver. Would this woman still suffer after she forgave him? Of course, she would. Sexual assault is difficult to deal with. But it’s only when we forgive, as God has forgiven us, that we give Him the access to allow Him to work on restoring our souls. And only God can give us true healing and restoration.
We may not feel strong enough to forgive. But that is where we also need to rely on our Father. We have to make the choice – I choose to forgive my offender – and ask God for the strength. He will give it.
I chose to forgive the ones who assaulted me in this way because I decided I was not going to allow their actions to dictate and control the rest of my life.
But I was only able to do it when I gave it to God and asked Him for the strength.
As it says in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
If you are holding a grudge in your heart, I invite you to give it to God and forgive your offender. It will give you a peace that you will never see otherwise.
Be immersed in His Grace,