This week two of my daughter’s best friends played a practical joke on her and it was NOT funny.
The hurt, anger, and betrayal she felt when she figured out who played the “joke” won’t be forgotten anytime soon, but now that the truth is revealed and the tears and venting are over, what’s next?
We all know what God tells us to do, but man, it’s really hard to forgive when we are hurting. We feel like forgiving an offender is saying that what was done was okay. The reality is that forgiving isn’t primarily for the person being forgiven, it’s mostly for the person who was hurt. It’s the process of handing our pain and desire for justice over to God rather than fixating on the hurt. Fixation only prolongs and grows the pain, while handing it over to God allows for healing.
Forgiveness is not optional. It is demanded of us:
-In Luke 6:28 Jesus says, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you.”
-In Matthew 6:14, Jesus says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
-And in Luke 17:3-4 Jesus says, “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
This does not mean we have to “forgive and forget.” We can’t always and often shouldn’t forget the hurts done to us, but we can trust that God will heal us and use the pain for good, but we have to be willing to surrender it to him for that to happen.