I grew up in a church where in Sunday school they taught that forgiveness was something that we do as Christians. People have hurt me in the past, and I would just forgive them. It wasn’t something I ever truly thought about. Someone hurt me, I forgave them. The end.
I always believed that since God forgave me for my sins, I should forgive someone else. I never sat down and really thought about what forgiveness meant, or what it entailed.
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
It wasn’t until I was hurt by something recently that I had to really look into how to forgive. Originally when this person hurt me, I said I forgave them. Saying those three words was natural. What else did forgiving entail?
I feel like we’re just taught the motions. Someone hurts you, you forgive them, and life
moves on. What they don’t teach you (or at least in my experience), is how to live after you forgive the person, or just how to truly forgive the person in the first place.
It’s easy to forgive someone when they steal the toy you were playing with in elementary school, or even forgive someone that turns your friends against you in middle school, and we can even say that forgiving someone that spreads rumors about you in high school is easy. But when the act they committed was beyond forgiveness (in your eyes) how do you move forward. How do you truly forgive them like God would?
God forgave us for all our sins, and died on a cross. Sins and acts we had not even committed yet. We weren’t even in existence yet, but Jesus still chose to die on that cross for us, and forgive us. He forgave us even though He knew very well that a good portion of the world would turn against Him. If God can forgive 6 billion people before they were even present on Earth, how can I struggle with forgiveness? It should be easy, right? I just say those three words, I forgive you, and life moves on. I should move on.
And yet, I’m sitting here struggling with this. I wish I could tell you the secret. I wish there was a magic potion that created a heart filled with forgiveness and love. The only ‘magic’ I can give you is prayer. I work every single day with forgiveness. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep I am fighting to forgive. I strive to not have angry thoughts, or to have hatred fill my heart. I want so desperately to forgive this person. The only thing that keeps me moving towards that direction is knowing how God forgives me daily. I’ve done things that I’m sure any person here on Earth would have not forgiven me for, yet God forgave me of each sin. So every single time I say the words, I cannot forgive them, God reminds me that He’s forgiven me.
I have prayed for God to show me how to forgive, and I’m still finding out how. It’s not an easy path, especially when it’s forgiving a hurt that is stabbing in the heart. I will say that every single day the hurt lessens and lessens. I think one day the pain will be minimized to the point that forgiving becomes easier.
I believe God uses difficult trials to teach us things, and even though I really wish this wasn’t something I was dealing with, I trust Him. Maybe one day forgiveness will be easy. God paves the path for forgiveness and He’ll guide us through it. He paved the way from the cross, and with Him forgiveness is possible.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!