The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been draped over my entire body. I had been sitting alone in my office for several hours, contemplating my circumstances, knowing full well I should have chosen my words more carefully. Anger can cloud your mind as it did mine, and before you know it you have hurt someone you love.
Hurts from family members run deepest of all. Time passes and your heart goes quiet with apathy and indifference. You put up emotional walls hoping to prevent further harm. You even start stiff-arming God. You’re not sure how you feel about His role in your life now or in the future. Why did He let it happen? You wonder if you will ever recover?
You have led yourself into emotional bondage. You feel like you are living in prison with no hope of parole.
What you don’t realize is that freedom is found in words.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13
You have hurt someone. What is your responsibility?
Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough.
Own up to the offense and then ask for forgiveness, “Will you forgive me?”
You have been hurt. What is your responsibility?
Go to the person who has offended you and tell them you have been offended.
When they ask for forgiveness you say, “I forgive you.”
These words, when spoken from a sincere heart, have the supernatural power to transform a hurt heart into a healed heart.
What if you don’t want to forgive the person who hurt you?
What if you don’t feel like you have the strength to forgive?
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13
This is my “go to” verse in the Bible when “I don’t want to” or, “if I don’t think I can.” God gives me what I need to get through what I’m facing.
I had an encounter with a woman from Ethiopia. She didn’t hesitate to tell me her story.
“My heart has been hurt deeply, so deeply. He used such ugly words to describe my beloved homeland. Why would he do that?” She grabbed my hand and began to whimper.
I told her I could see how hurt she was and I didn’t know why either and I apologized for our president. I shared with her how much my husband loved his trip to Ethiopia, how beautiful he thought the country and the people were.
Her response, “Oh, thank you Mama, thank you. You have made me feel love.”
She rubbed her cheek with my hand and thanked God over and over.
I asked her if she believed in God, “Yes, Mama! And Jesus too!”
As I walked away
I told her I needed to go. She thanked me for being kind to her and for listening. As I walked away I thought, God was kind to her through me. What an interesting interchange. God had teed up another encounter for me as He often does while I’m traveling.
This woman’s heart was broken over words said about her country. God sent help from the most unlikely source at the most unusual time and place. He met her needs. I was reminded that I can have confidence that God is always at work. Even when it doesn’t feel like it or when He seems to be silent.
“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” Psalm 86:5
Can I encourage you to keep short accounts with others?
And when you have offended God, ask Him to forgive you.
“Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.” Psalm 65:3