We have all been hurt by someone in some way or another. It may have been purposefully or accidentally, big or little, physical or emotional, or from friends or enemies. I’ve been hurt. I’m sure you have been hurt. This world is full of pain and sin and so we get bruises and sometimes scars. But what may be harder than taking the offense is forgiving the offender. Especially when they haven’t even apologized. But that is the whole point of this spiritual work of mercy. To forgive the wrongdoings of others even if they don’t ask for it through your own decision and desire to give them what they need.
When you forgive someone you are not saying what they did was okay and you will just forget about it. No, you are actually saying, “Yes, you have hurt and wronged me. You have taken something from me and you now greatly owe me. You are indebted to me. However… I release you from your debt. I forgive you.” You still acknowledge their wrongdoing, but freely choose to let them go free. Memories and hurt may return. That’s okay. You don’t have to forget, because you may want to avoid that happening again, but you may need to remind yourself to forgive again. Its okay if you have to forgive seventy-seven times. God has forgiven me of my sins more than seven hundred and seventy-seven times and mostly for the same offenses. However, I know He will continue to forgive me. He forgave the soldiers who crucified him. He forgave Peter who denied him. He forgave the repentant sinner on the cross beside him. He forgives you and has given you the power to forgive.
When we forgive we are lifting free our offenders from their debt, but also ourselves free from the chains of unforgiveness and revenge. Instead of being anchored to the past trying to get back what we deserve, we are freeing ourselves to move on with our life. Have you ever gained anything from not forgiving? Have you felt better after forgiving? Unforgiveness holds one in a jail cell. The cell is comfortable though with a bed and other furnishings, like a small home. However light and freedom shine outside the small window. Darkness weighs down and it seems nice outside. Yet one doesn’t leave. Even though the cell door has been left wide open.
Christ has left the door to forgiveness wide open for us. We just need to take that first step out of ourselves and into the light. It may be hard to leave behind what is rightfully ours, but there is something so much greater offered to us through that door of freedom.
My Challenge For You. Go sit down in a quiet and meditative place with a pen and paper. Maybe in Adoration, your bedroom, or in a park. Write down all the ways that you’ve been hurt. Write down everything people have taken from you and now owe you. Whether it be your chastity, pride, good name, self-esteem, trust, or possessions. Think about it and prayerfully take your time. After you finish read the list… Say a prayer for strength… Now FORGIVE.
Here is a beautiful song on forgiveness by Matthew West that I encourage you to listen to and sing! 🙂
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