How do we forgive someone who is not sorry for hurting us? Or someone who did or said something we deem unforgivable?
I used to wrestle with these questions. Forgiveness was something I knew I needed to do because it was eating away at me, but I didn’t know how to forgive. I thought the only way to forgive was if someone asked for forgiveness. But the person who deeply hurt me never asked me to forgive her. So I carried around the hatred and heartache in my heart.
It hurt me daily because I continued to think about it and revisit the pain. When I tried to pray, it always stood between me and God. I couldn’t pray as long as I was wallowing in the heartache and feeling like a victim. And I soon realized that no one or nothing is worth my power with God.
One day, when I was so over it, I asked God to help me to forgive her. I wanted to let go of the pain. While the incident only happened once, I have revisited it hundreds of times. Then God showed me that forgiving her was more about me than her. When we hold grudges, then it is like poison to our souls. Every day, I continued to poison myself. I could see the weight of the grudge and its toll on me. So, I decided that I wanted to let it go.
Jesus gave us an excellent example of forgiveness when He was on the cross. They had beat Him, spit in His face, and caused Him tremendous pain, yet He asked God to forgive them. Not one of them, which had caused His pain, asked Him for forgiveness. Jesus forgave them because of who He is, not based on their sin or who they are. While they lashed out at Him with hatred, He offered them love. Love is the answer.
When someone hurts us, then they are in a bad place in their life. Perhaps they don’t even know the Lord. If we match their hatred, we lose a valuable opportunity to show them a glimpse of our Lord. When we take our heartaches to Jesus and lay them at His feet, then He knows exactly how to help us to overcome it. The moment we forgive, then we take away their power over us.
One evening, I was headed to church, and God told me to stop by her house. I didn’t want to face the woman who had caused me so much pain, but I also knew I needed to tell her I forgave her. When I went in, I told her how badly she had hurt me and that I could forgive her through God. We both cried. And love covered the heartache. Now, when I see her, I can hug her and tell her that I love her because I do. She was able to hurt me so deeply because I loved her.
We are all human. We all make mistakes. That is why God sent His Son to die for our sins. The blood of Jesus can cover every sin. When I struggle to forgive someone for what they’ve done to me, I think about all the things that God has forgiven me. I’ve lashed out with cruel words and hurt those I love deeply. I’ve also hurt myself by doing things that are not aligned with God. Regardless of the sin, God has grace for our every need. When we desire forgiveness, God will show us how to obtain it. The enemy wants us to hate, but we know God is love.
I love these verses on forgiveness:
Mark 11:25 (KJV)
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.