Have you ever needed to forgive somebody? I think we all have at one point or another. It's not always easy to do it is?! You've asked God to forgive you for holding on to whatever it may have been against that person, you've decided in yourself that you have forgiven that person, you've told that person that you have forgiven them and you think it's over and done with...in the past. But then, you're out somewhere with a group of women and one of them starts to share a hurtful experience that they are going through or have gone through and it all comes flooding back...thoughts of the person who hurt you and how they hurt you. You then share your experience with her, in an attempt to make yourself feel better, to connect with her, because you've both experienced a similar situation and now you have somebody who understands. Sound familiar? But then, you get home and you don't feel so good. You regret having said anything, because not all of your words were kind and encouraging, you wonder if you've actually forgiven that person, because you now aren't feeling all that forgiving after re-living the experience and you realize that you were not an example of a woman of God, to the woman that you thought you were connecting with. You feel awful! This is one example of how we can go from forgiveness or what we thought was forgiveness, to right back where we started and frustrated.
This past week in our Bible study, us women were discussing the difficult relationships that we are dealing with or have dealt with in our life and about forgiving those people that we are in relationship with. We ended that conversation talking about how God instructs us to not only forgive those people, but to also bless them, or in other words, to speak well of them and to pray for them. I am guilty at certain times, of thinking I have forgiven a person, but later on bringing up what was said or done to me and not speaking well of that person. I didn't bless them. It will not work that way! Forgiveness is a two-step process. We must forgive (part 1) and bless (part 2). Until we do both parts, we have not obeyed what God has instructed us to do in Luke 6:27, 28 and we will not have the victory and peace we are seeking.
In an Everyday Life Article in my Bible, Joyce Meyer says: "Hating those who hurt you is like taking the poison yourself and hoping your enemy will die."
There is a girl that I was very close friends with in elementary school. We started to spend less and less time together as we got older, until it came to a point where we rarely spoke. The last time that I saw her she said some unkind words to me that hurt my feelings. We were about fourteen years old at the time. I carried that hurt and resentment with me until I was twenty-one. Now I certainly didn't want her to die like the quote says above, I didn't hate her, but the feelings I had weren't good and they were effecting my life in negative way. God had been working on my heart and I realized one day, that I was no longer carrying the hurt and resentment that I had toward her. I decided to write her a letter, to let her know that I had forgiven her for what she said. She wrote me back very soon after, apologizing for having hurt my feelings, but the funny part (I can laugh at it now) is that she had no idea that she had hurt my feelings. The hurt and resentment that I was holding on to all of those years was only hurting me. I am so glad that I wrote her that letter of forgiveness, but I regret that I didn't forgive her sooner!
The message in this blog is what God has been sharing with me this past week and I felt to share it with you. My prayer for you, is that in all of your less than perfect relationships, you will not only forgive, but bless the other person in the times that forgiveness is needed and not wait. Doing this will not only bless them, but it will bless you as well. Don't waste your life holding on to negative feelings and with resentment in your heart. It has taken me a long time, too long, to really 'get it' and I can tell you from experience, that there is real peace and freedom when you forgive and bless.
With Much Love,