Have you been hurt?
I think we could all say “yes” to that! And really, we know we should forgive those who have hurt us, but maybe you’ve tried to forgive and you just couldn’t.
Maybe you thought you forgave, but what happened just keeps coming back, and it feels so raw and painful, you wonder if you’ve failed in the forgiveness department. Maybe you know you should forgive, but you’re just plain mad, and you don’t want to forgive at all.
Or maybe you’ve forgiven the same person again and again, and you don’t want to do it anymore.
First, let me say I’m so sorry you’ve been hurt. I know your pain is real. You may think, “No one understands what I’ve gone through” or “How can I forgive the horrible things I’ve endured, the emotional, mental, or physical scars I wear every day?”
I haven’t walked in your shoes, and I don’t know exactly what has happened to you. But I have walked through some painful things, and I’ve walked through some painful things with other people.
Too many of us are walking around wounded or angry or even sick from the hurts of the past while God has the answer. It might not seem like it, but the answer is forgiveness. I’ve seen miracles happen when people forgive! And I want you to know about them, so they can happen in your life too. God wants you to be free from the hurt.
It’s Not Okay to Stay Hurt
While it’s fairly normal to get hurt, it’s not okay to stay hurt. God doesn’t want that for you! In fact, can I put it to you in fairly harsh terms? Staying hurt is really harboring unforgiveness.
I know, I know! Ouch! And you might be thinking, “Oh no, I’m not harboring unforgiveness, Karen. I know better than that.” Or you might even be thinking, “But you don’t know what they did to me!”
And of course, you’re right, I don’t know. But one thing I do know for sure is that I don’t want you to live with the pain a moment longer, and neither does God. He loves you! And he sent his Son, Jesus, to set you free.
When someone has done something hurtful or stupid or mean or ignorant to you and it’s affected your life, it just doesn’t seem like it’s possible to forgive them, especially when you’re living with the results. But here’s what I’ve learned: if you forgive, you can come out of it. When you choose to forgive, you’re choosing God’s way of acting and reacting, and that means you’re choosing to let him take over in the situation. Not only does forgiveness make your pain go away, but it allows God to move.
Don’t live a moment longer with the wrongs that others have done to you or with your own regrets and failures. You can’t hold onto the past and walk into the future God has for you! We all have opportunities to hold onto things that have happened to us. But I want to let what others do to me determine how I live. Unforgiveness only perpetuates pain, both in my life and the lives of those around me.
If I refuse to forgive, I hurt myself and those around me. Let’s face it, hurt people can end up hurting people! Bitter people are no fun to be around. They can’t sleep. They get ulcers. They’re grumpy. They start to see only the negative in every situation because their life is filled with these feelings of resentment and anger.
My friend, if you choose to hold on to bitterness, you can lose your peace, your joy, your friends, your family, and possibly even your health. It’s just not worth it. When you refuse to forgive, you may feel like you’re punishing the other person, but the only person paying the price is you and those around you. But through forgiveness, God can bring you into a future that is far better than you can even imagine!
Find out exactly how to forgive in my new book “I Forgive You, But…”: 3 Steps That Can Heal Your Heart Forever. Read the first part of the book right here.