“Bear with one another and forgive one another. If anyone has a quarrel against anyone, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do” (Col. 3:13).
When you and I were young, we often had a picture of what we wanted our lives to be like when we grew up … a picture of our career, our family and our children. What did you imagine your life would be like today? Has the canvas of your life’s painting turned out like you expected? Or have you been wounded—slashed by a handicap, hurt, injustice, illness, bankruptcy, betrayal?
The way to healing, the way to freedom from the wretchedness of the pain of having been wounded, is not revenge. It is not giving them—the ones who wounded you—the silent treatment, or cutting them off, or cutting them out. It is not rejecting God and losing your faith. It is not blaming others and claiming to be an innocent victim. Vengeance, slander, self-defense, finger-pointing, and blame-giving will not ease your pain. God tells us exactly how to be healed. The remedy is simple, but radical: Forgive one another.
Would you celebrate Holy Week this year by “forgiving one another”? Would you even be willing to tell God you’re willing to be made willing to forgive? God will help you release your hurt when you choose to forgive others who have hurt you.
But often forgiveness is the very last thing you and I would ever think of extending to the person who has hurt us. We’re afraid that if we forgive them, they will somehow get away with what they have done to us. By holding onto our anger, we feel we are making that other person pay for what he or she has done. It’s a form of vengeance. But to harbor bitterness, a vengeful spirit, or an unforgiving attitude is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die. Those very injustices and wounds in our lives can go beyond hurt and become spiritually self-destructive.
Forgiveness is a decision made in obedience to God’s command. [Tweet This] Pure and simple. Make that decision now. Why? Because God has forgiven you. Your forgiveness of others is an expression of your worship of Him. Then demonstrate your decision by reaching out to bless the other person. Your healing journey will begin. I know …
Anne Graham Lotz is an author and founder of AnGel Ministries.