Forgiveness is a hard thing. I used to think I had a monopoly on the struggle to forgive because some of the hurts from my past were so deep and damaging. I’ve since learned that people hate other people for years over something as minor as a failure to repay a $20 loan. I always scoffed at that kind of thing because, well, I know what it is to be truly hurt. I do tend to let minor offenses go pretty easily.
Unfortunately God doesn’t offer free passes to those of us who have been “really hurt.” We are commanded to forgive. And it is hard. I had a light bulb moment a few years ago that helps me when I am tempted to nurse my hurts or slight those I believe have hurt me. I’m going to share it with you now because I realized recently that the holiday season, which often forces us together with extended family we purposefully avoid the rest of the year, provide the perfect opening for us to nurse old wounds and hurts. Are you ready? Okay, here it is:
No matter how badly I have been hurt, there is no way the person who hurt me can fully comprehend my pain, because it’s mine. I have to deal with it. Even if they wanted to take back what they did, they can’t. Even if they want to give back what was stolen, they can’t. I have done and said things I wish I could take back and can’t. The reality of that grieves me, and it probably grieves my offenders too. But if it doesn’t, what’s done is done. I have to let it go. The anger, that is, if I want God to extend His grace to me.
Hope you enjoyed your family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.