So many wounding’s in this life. For all of us. You cannot go far, even in the innocence of childhood, without feeling the knife. So we need to learn as early as possible forgiveness for the unkind words, rejections, disappointments… and worse.
The trick as I see it, is remembering enough of your story so you can tell it, without becoming an archivist of injustice.
We begin when we’re young, growing in our expertise, learning to cling to our wounds in righteous and outraged indignation. For some, we carry that pain vociferously, telling any and all about the unfairness of what has been done to us. For others, we carry the pain privately, taciturnly stuffing all of it way down deep, trying to forget the damage done; hoping our wounds will scar over and be silent. By the time we reach our adulthood, most of us have a wide and varied collection of scars—some outward, but mostly, we all wear our scars on the inside.
I wish I could say that “coming to Christ” just magically changes that truth—but it doesn’t. It just changes the way we are to handle it. Belonging to Christ makes forgiving all offenders mandatory.
For me, this was really tough stuff.
You see, I grew up in a home without forgiveness. It sounds awful to me now (to admit that) but at the time, I just accepted how things were. To transgress, meant you would “wear” the responsibility for what you had done from that day forward. That was the deal. The offense might not be spoken of, but it would always be the pink elephant in the room—always.
Since forgiveness wasn’t modeled, I didn’t “get the value” of the concept, let alone how to carry it off. Yet, God is faithful. The Bible says, “…when your father and mother forsake you, I the LORD will take you up.” Which is good, because there are life principles to our forgiving that none of us can live without.
First and uppermost—is the principle that we are taken prisoner by anyone we refuse to forgive. Consequently, we then become the one who is unforgiven by God.
Second principle—forgiveness is a process. The deeper the wound the longer the process.
Third—no guarantees of reconciliation. (A completely separate process.) Unfortunately, sometimes our offender will refuse to change or acknowledge their harmful behavior.
Therefore, to be “reconciled with them” is not possible.
Still, we must extend forgiveness.
Finally—we don’t give up until we succeed in forgiving. We are to genuinely ask God to bless our offender.
I once heard a pastor illustrate it this way.
“Forgiving is like climbing a slippery mountain made of glass. For every step forward, you may slide back three or four—but since forgiving isn’t optional—we keep climbing. Difficult, or easy, we keep at it because freedom’s view from the top will always, always, be worth it in the end.”
You there… yes, you.
Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
Your dreaming thrills Me.
(Your heart that forgives, and forgives…)
How I rejoice in you! Ask Me! Ask Me anything… I want to give you all that you desire; all that you are dreaming for others…
How those dreams of yours have changed.
Once, they were so small and selfish. (We know.) Ah, but look… behold the beauty! How you long and weep for the pain of others. How you plead for their destinies.
(Oh, I AM so pleased with you!)
Ask Me! I AM here. The windows of heaven are full open! Your requests come at a favorable time… all that is Mine is yours!
You bring Me so much pleasure when you ask for such extreme, impossible things… for only the King of Universes could do for you all that you have asked.
How you honor Me child. Such trust! These requests of yours give Me such joy! Ask again, and again… My hand is open and I AM bending down My ear to hear even the faintest whispers of your heart.
How I love your holy audacity—your childish expectancy!
My, how you bless your Father.
How you give Me joy… here, My beloved… receive! Receive joy from Your Father who is delighted to give you His Kingdom!
(You are My rapture!)
“Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it! John 14:14