“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” – Colossians 3:15
We have some choices when it comes to our pain – our hurts. We can be tough, thinking we are stronger than our pain and try to overcome it on our own. We can deny it and pretend the hurt does not exist. Those never work. It will always be a hurt in our life. We see pain as weakness. We will try to cover that hurt with something to feel better. Bitterness, resentment, anger, drugs, alcohol, sex, codependency, theft, lying… the list goes on. But that pain, that hurt will always make a problem for us and everything will become worse…
Or we can be honest with ourselves and admit our pain. You can’t get over being hurt until you admit you have been hurt. We don’t want to admit the times that people we love have hurt us. Sometimes maybe we see that as a weakness too, but you can’t forgive what you won’t admit. So you first reveal your hurt. Admit it and write it down. Make a list of the ones who have hurt you, what they did, what they said, what they thought. Don’t leave anything out. Write it all down so you can look at it and think about it.
Then forgive them. Release the debt. Let go of the pain. Forgive, and let the peace of God rule in your heart. You have no idea of what can happen in your life when you forgive the people who have been hurting you. Remember that forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver. How often do we have to do it? How many times should we forgive people when they sins against us? Peter asked Jesus that very same question in Matthew 18:21.
Jesus taught the answer to that question both directly, and in a parable. The answer is simply this:
As many times as it takes
He answered that way for 2 reasons. First, the offender may continue to sin against you, and you must forgive again. Second, Forgiveness is not easy. Bitterness and resentment may chase after you. Forgiveness is not always a one-time thing where you say, “I forgive them”, and that’s it. Because those feelings are going to keep coming back, and every time you get those feelings you’ve got to forgive them again. Jesus said forgive them “Over and over.” And every time they come to mind, you must forgive them again until you know that you have released them fully. How do you know when you have released someone fully? You can think about them and it doesn’t hurt anymore. You can pray for God’s blessing on their life. You can begin to understand the problems in their life, rather than always focusing on their offense to you. When you begin to think that way – That’s when you know you’ve released them. You keep forgiving them, keep forgiving them, until finally you can think of them and it doesn’t hurt anymore. We need to make forgiveness a habit. Then it might replace another bad habit, like un-forgiveness. And we begin to see progress in our transformation because we’re thinking differently because our minds are being renewed from carnal to spiritual. You can get rid of the pain. You can let go of it.
Don’t wait for them to do something to deserve your forgiveness, and don’t wait for them to ask for your forgiveness. Don’t wait for them to accept your forgiveness. None of those things are under your control. It’s not how forgiveness works, and it’s not how God forgave us – and it’s not how He keeps on forgiving us… over and over, again and again.
But you can do this: Forgive. “let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be ye thankful.”