When Forgiving Is Too Hard

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Cleansing Tears

Once I was ministering at a women’s retreat in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Oregon. There were only about 30 of us, so we just held the ministry meetings in the living room of one of the condos where we were staying. It was a cozy environment, and God met us there in a powerful way.

For two solid days I ministered to the women about forgiveness. We had meetings morning, noon and night, so they heard at least eight hours’ worth of God’s Word on the subject, how he had forgiven us, how we can forgive others, and the freedom that it can bring to our lives. 

The women were scattered around the living room on various couches and chairs as they listened, but in the very back of the room, there was one woman — let’s call her Sheila — who sat through all the meetings on the hearth of the fireplace. Because she was behind everyone else, I was the only one who could see her face, and I noticed that through every meeting, she was crying. Not big boo-hoo type crying: she just had tears silently streaming down her face the whole time, and she occasionally wiped them away with a tissue.

I remember thinking, “Gosh, I hope she doesn’t get dehydrated!” (I actually found myself offering her bottled water during our fellowship and meal times!) It was obvious that the messages hit home with Sheila in a powerful way, and I prayed that God was doing a work in her heart. 

God doesn’t mind if you cry. Even Jesus wept (John 11:35). Crying doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you don’t have faith. Many times crying is a sign that God is doing a cleansing work in your heart. Psalm 56:8 says He keeps our tears in a bottle – they are that precious to Him. 

But it’s not His will for you to be sad forever. Revelation 21:4 says that in heaven “God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Remember that when forgiving is hard.