The wound in her soul was hidden to her eyes but not to her heart. The hurt continued to haunt her life as it seeped out of her soul and stepped into her thought life. No matter how hard she tried to forget what happened, her mind automatically reached into her soul and retrieved the repressed hurt, replaying it again and again. The wound owned her, and it was growing bigger even though her offender was miles away.
She wanted to be free. She felt powerless.
“Just forgive,” she heard her pastor say. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one each other just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
But what IS forgiveness? Instead of this advice bringing freedom to her soul, it often brought frustration. She was tired of being a doormat others used to wipe their feet. But she had to do something. Her buried hurt emotions were building to the point of breaking her.
This struggle is my story. Is it yours too? Who doesn’t struggle with forgiving someone who hurt her heart?
Opposed to our human nature and often misunderstood, forgiveness is a hard concept to grasp.
- Forgiveness is not saying what happened was okay.
- Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened.
- Forgiveness does not mean trusting the person . . . but it does mean trusting God to handle the situation.
Forgiveness is letting go of your right to retaliate by releasing your offender to God.
If you retaliate, you are allowing your offender to control your life. If you repress your emotions or deny them, you’ll swallow that anger and plant the seed of bitterness in your soul. Revenge, repression, retaliation . . . they all put you in a prison. But releasing the offense to God allows the GREAT I AM to control your life. And with that release comes freedom.
Being real about your hurt and bringing that pain to God opens the door for healing. Showing love to your enemies dissolves your offender’s power to hurt you because it confirms God is in control of your life.
When you release others, you open your hands to receive from God, the only One who can redeem and restore.
Power Rests in Love
God wants you to be powerful, not passive. But godly girl power does not rest in revenge—it rests in love. Love is a powerful force and puts God in control instead of your offender. Forgiveness carves a path for the mighty river of God’s love and power to flow to you—and through you to others!
God has a great purpose for your life. He wants you to spend your energy your purpose—not dwelling on buried hurts or revenge. Focusing on God’s purpose for your journey is an essential, effective way to live. You are not responsible for your offender’s actions, but you are responsible for how you respond. God saw what happened to you. He is not asking you to say what happened was okay—but he does want you to turn it over to him.
For you to be okay, you must treat the wound his way.
When you retaliate, your offender is in control. When you respond in love and forgiveness, God is in control. Forgiveness carves a path for the mighty river of his love and power to flow.
Allowing Yourself to Forgive
Who will rule your heart? Your offender . . . or God?
God never gives us a command without promising the power to walk that truth. On your own, this love is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Don’t let your offender steal your power one more day. Wounds are never easy to deal with, – just for today take the first step…bring God your willing heart.
And as I write these words, know that I am on this journey with you. Today, I am taking a brave step to forgive – right along side you. Onward!
She told God she was ready to forgive. She didn’t want to, but that was okay. God wrapped his arms around her and told her if she was willing, he would help her. It was a process and didn’t happen overnight. But when she let go of the painful relationship and released that person to God, a door opened in her soul. Redemption came in and healed the raw wound in her heart. God redeemed all that had been lost in ways beyond anything she could have ever dreamed.
She was free. She was fearless. She was powerful . . . because she forgave!
Nourish Scripture: Ephesians 4:17-32
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Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.