Have you ever been wronged by someone? I mean really hurt to the core? It’s probably happened to all of us a time or two in our lives. The pain is worsened when someone close to us does it, such as family, friends or fellow Christians.
Natural human reactions can be revenge, anger, bitterness, or even disillusionment. We often protect ourselves by drawing away from the offender. This may lead to isolation from everyone into a self-imposed exile of loneliness.
Waiting for the offender to make things right is usually futile. The offender either doesn’t realize the damage they’ve done through their words or actions, or they just don’t care. Your suffering means nothing to the offender. They couldn’t care less! The injured one carries the hurt.
The Lord Jesus showed us a higher way. He taught us by example to forgive. He said, as He hung on the cross dying,
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34NLT)
I’ve had to forgive on occasion. When I was a young minister living on faith, my prescription glasses were stolen from the dashboard of my vehicle. I believed it was done by some neighborhood teens though I couldn’t be sure. The loss hurt me badly. I asked myself, “Why’d they steal my prescription glasses? They’re no good to anybody but me, and I need them to drive.”
The more I thought about it the angrier I got. I couldn’t replace them at the time so it began to eat at me on the inside. Finally, I took it to the Lord. He told me in my Spirit that I must forgive them.
“Forgive them? I asked. They haven’t asked my forgiveness.” On that day I learned how forgiveness is a one-way street. When Jesus forgave those who crucified Him, they had not asked for forgiveness. Jesus would have never forgiven them if their asking were the prerequisite. No. Not only did He forgive them, He also did not hold it to their account.
So, I had to forgive those boys. I prayed from my heart for Father to forgive them, and then I took the extra step as led by the Spirit. I prayed, “Father, I give my glasses to those boys. The glasses now belong to them. They can’t steal their own glasses, so Father don’t hold it to their account.”
As I released the glasses to them, forgiveness was released, and a remarkable thing happened. The hurt, anger, and bitterness, from which I suffered, were released as well. I was freed from the hurt that was eating me up. Though they never asked my forgiveness and never knew I had forgiven them, in God’s eyes it was official. They were forgiven and I was free! I released the grudge I was carrying.
So if you should find yourself walking down Bitterness Road, or Betrayal Lane, having been wronged, stop and turn right on Forgiveness Way. It will lead you away from the Angry Acres gated community, to the land of peace.
Remember, there is no going back because Forgiveness is a one-way street!
By Gene Markland