Day Five: Forgiving When the Wound is Still Open (Remembering the Truth)
How do we forgive when we’re still hurting, when it feels unfair, when there is no tidy ending?
Forgiveness is a process, one that begins with a declaration that we are willing to trust God with our pain and the person who wronged us, but then it’s a continual movement toward that trust as the feelings of our wounds arise. Here are some truths to hold onto as you forgive:
Truth: We can trust God with our pain.
Say to God: “Lord, I feel like this situation is so unfair, and I feel so wronged, and I don’t know what to do with it, but I trust that You do know what to do with it. You know me, You know them, and You see all the things I don’t. Plus, I know You love me and have my back (as well as theirs), so here You go, God, it’s all Yours.” Prayers like this help you trust God with both the person and the situation.
Nobody gets a free pass to skip the battle, not even the person who wronged you. When we remember that truth, that everyone is facing a hard battle, we can have compassion on the person who wronged us.
Truth: God calls us to be humble and own our part of the dysfunction.
Ask God: “Is there something I have done that I should ask forgiveness for with the person who wronged me? Is there a part of this dysfunction that I’m creating or making worse?” Ask it. And ask without expectation that you will be asked for forgiveness in return. Free and clear, ask genuinely. Think also about all the times you have wronged someone—times when others have had to trust God with the pain you’ve inflicted—and your own compassion will rise.
Truth: God calls us to be people of the light.
The enemy wants nothing more than to keep us in the dark—seething, vengeful, broiling, stormy inside. He wants us far away from forgiveness, because forgiveness shines beautifully bright to a calloused world. In the gospel, Christ’s forgiveness of us brought us from darkness to light, and as we follow his example and forgive others, we bring dark situations into the light as well.
Truth: God gives us counselors.
The Bible is chock-full of passages that reveal the value of godly counsel in our lives. Seek outside help from wise and kind mentors, friends, and/or counselors. God in His kind provision gave people gifts of counseling, and we can reap such healthy rewards through the help of others. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t through the gentle help of so many others. Don’t try to heal on your own.
Key Application: Forgiveness is a process and sometimes what gets us through when things feel shaky is hanging on to the truths in Scripture we know to be true and stable. God will help you when the hurt you’ve experienced surfaces—all you have to do is remember Him and the truth he has given you in his Word.
Is there someone you need to forgive? What’s holding you back? How will you trust God with the situation? What truth from Scripture can you remember when you are tempted to turn back and not forgive?