A few years ago I was deeply hurt by a close friend. She betrayed me at the deepest level a friend can, and actively worked to try to hurt me and my reputation, not caring at all for what I thought was an important friendship. Our mutual friends knew I had a problem with her but I would never ask them to stop being friends with her on my behalf but EVERY time they brought up her name I just got….mad. I started blaming her for things she had nothing to do with and sort of became a catch-all for everything that bothered me. Of course this wasn’t fair to her, no matter how much I disliked her, but it also set me up for a lot of anger since she was a part of life for so many of my friends.
I waited and waited for her to apologize to me. I wanted to forgive her but only when she was willing to admit what she did wrong. Well, that’s not how forgiveness works. You see I had imprisioned myself in a jail cell of bitterness and anger….I was STILL letting her control my emotions and hadn’t talked to her in months. All of the sudden I had a horrible thought- what if she never apologized? What would I do? Would I be angry forever?
One of the verses of “Breathing Room” that was inspired by this talks about the things I was missing while I was angry:
Wanna feel the earth beneath my feet
Feel Your rain, wash my spirit clean
Let the sun shine upon my weathered face
Dust from the past makes it hard to breathe
Wipe my eyes, Lord teach me how to see
Renew my heart so I can learn to love again
I was letting the past infect my present and my future. I didn’t want to trust new friends because of the one that hurt me. I was blinded to all of the positives in my life because the “dust” was only the negative emotions I was hanging on to. I needed a restart, a do over and I remember the moment when I decided I would forgive her, regardless if she ever apologized.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The moment I forgave her, a weight was taken off of me I didn’t even know I was carrying. Here’s the thing: forgiveness is not an emotion- it is a choice. If you wait till you “feel” right, who’s to say when you “feel” bad you won’t be angry all over again? It’s a decision you make to NOT live in anger and bitterness; don’t let that person have such a large influence in your life and don’t let hate live in your heart any longer than it absolutely has to.
We could do a whole month series on forgives but the bottom line is, God forgives us. Over and over and over. We can do the same sins repeatedly yet when we come to God with an honest heart and ask forgiveness we receive it, even though He knows we will mess up again. We are supposed to try our best to live as God wants us to live and that includes forgiving – and even loving – our enemies….but that’s another story for another day
#journaljourney: Look at what you wrote last time in the journal prompts in Part One. With all of this in mind about forgiveness, have your feelings changed? Has your outlook? Decide NOW to forgive one of those people who hurt you. You will have to continually pray about it. It will be hard- especially if it someone you have to see every day or be around a lot, but this could be the greatest journey you have ever had in leaning on God. No matter what, when you give this over to Him, you WILL have space in your head and your heart to begin to focus more on what He has for you in your future instead of dwelling on the past.
Scripture: Micah 7:18, Mark 11:25, Colossians 3:13