Peace family, do you have people in your life who make you feel kicked while you are down? Do you have people who hurt you, and never seem to notice it, or if they do notice, they don’t care? How can we forgive people like that?
I want to forgive people like that this year. A lot of people don’t deserve our forgiveness of them, but God asks us to forgive our enemies, and if we love him, we will seek to obey him.
There are different kinds of people who hurt us. Some of the people like that in my life, really are just not nice people; they are not allowing God’s love and rules to dictate their lives, and they seem to sin against others with no qualms (even though that doesn’t mean that God will let them get away with it). Other people in my life, no matter how hurtful they are sometimes, really do make an effort at other times to be kind and thoughtful, and obey God.
For me, sometimes it can feel more painful to try to forgive people who should know better, whom I’ve trusted, and whom I know are believers, than the people who are just wicked. Any time that one of these friends hurts me, it might bring up many other memories of times that they’ve hurt me. Does that happen to you? However, instead of letting Satan get a hold of our memories, and keep us begrudgingly keeping our neighbor at arm’s distance, it’s important to fight to remember the good things and good efforts, and forgive. It’s also important to remember our enemies’ identities as men and women designed by God, whom God loves, and whom God has a desire for, whether or not they are allowing him to be honored in their lives.
Peace family, let’s choose to release those who’ve hurt us. When the devil gives you a list of reasons why someone maliciously intended to hurt you, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt instead. Our country has become an increasingly unforgiving place. We hold onto the failures of others, whether people in our personal lives or public figures, and we wait until opportune moments to spring traps and scornfully pass judgment. We characterize our lives by who said what and what so-and-so did, and where we won’t shop or dine anymore. When we live life that way, I think we miss out on a lot of opportunities for God not only to use us, but also for us to have soft hearts.
Peace family, just after Christmas, I prayed that God would change my heart, and he really is doing it. I told him that I was afraid that if I let these people off the hook, then he wouldn’t protect me. However, I feel like he really is making a difference. Slowly, I am letting go of the people who have hurt me. I am choosing to take steps of reconciliation. And you know what? It’s very freeing. Some of the people who hurt me definitely don’t deserve to be forgiven, but think about it, Peace Family- do any of us deserve to be forgiven? No. But God extends his forgiveness nevertheless. It doesn’t mean that we have to invite those who’ve betrayed or wounded us into the vulnerable, deep parts of our hearts or our lives ever again, but it frees us up to be more connected to God, as well as to not care as much what those people do. It also allows us to not keep going through our lives with the the attitude of, “Who needs that person anyway! The Devil can take them!” particularly about our former friends or our family. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things on earth (at least for me), but if you choose to forgive others, I don’t think you will regret it. God knows how weak we are, and his patience is long-lasting.
Who can you forgive today, Peace Family? Who can you release? Is God asking you to let go of anyone specific? Is God asking you to forgive a people group, whether a racial, religious, political, or other social group? Let’s both take some time to think today, and to release those people to God, not only to obey him, but also for our own peace of mind. He is God and we are not, and we can trust him.