I tend to be a very forgiving person. As a matter of fact, my sister pleaded with me last week, telling me that I need to stop trying to pass blame on myself so that others don’t have to take the fall. I truly and honestly hate to see people upset and really want to do what I can to smooth things over. It’s just how I’m wired. (And she’s wired to protect me and call me out on things, so it’s a good balance!)
So when someone upsets me, while I might be upset for a period of time, I’m usually pretty quick to let it go and move on. Almost to a fault. But what about the big things?
What about the things that cut so deep and hurt so bad that unforgiveness and even resentful anger bubble below the surface?
What about that thing that has haunted you for years (or even decades) and the person who caused you that deep pain?
How do you let go of it? How do you go about releasing the hold that the pain and unforgiveness hang over you?
This is something that I struggle with. There are some things that have such a new wound that I just can’t let them go….yet. And there are some people in my life who just continue to hurt me over and over and over again. And there are some people who hurt me SO BAD so long ago that I don’t know how to let it go, because the pain left such a deep scar in the person I still am today.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”
When I read this verse today, it was like God was lecturing me. I read these verses like this:
“Hey Angie, listen to me for a second. You know how I tell you to love everyone? Well guess what? That doesn’t exclude those people that mistreat you. As a matter of fact, there will always be people who will hurt you, so I’m going to need you to learn something about them….. LOVE THEM ANYWAYS. And when it hurts too much to love them, pray for them, let Me take care of the rest.”
Even the ones who purposefully and knowingly hurt me and tear me down? Yep.
Even the person who caused me to hate a part of myself? Yep.
Even the person who enjoys watching me suffer? Yep.
Notice what Jesus did for the men who sat and watched him die. He prayed for them.
He lifted them up to God the Father, knowing that God Himself is the only one who can see the heart of those who desired to hurt Him. This by no means says that what they’ve done to you is ok. But what it does say is that when Jesus prayed and asked God to forgive the men who were mocking, beating and killing him slowly, He wasn’t doing it for show. He was doing it out of love for men and women who didn’t deserve such love. And we can learn from His example. (Luke 23:34)
We can’t see motives, past hurts or the heart of those that hurt us. We can’t see the entire puzzle. But we can talk to God who CAN SEE the big picture, and we can lift up those people who we really don’t like. We can pray for the people we don’t want to pray for. God is perfect and righteous, and He can do amazing things. Even with the people we’ve given up on.
And what better way to shine the light of Jesus Christ than to pray for those who don’t deserve it?!?
This is a super difficult topic to talk about, and there is so much more we could go deeper into. But I want you to take away one thing. You can’t undo what has been done to upset you. But you can give it to God and ask Him to use it for something good in a way that only He can. And when you are so upset that a certain person is the LAST person you’d want to pray for, that’s exactly WHO you should be lifting up.
Bible Journaling Prompts
Apply what you’ve learned
♡ This week I want you to focus on practicing this skill. It’s not easy to spend time praying for someone who hurt you. And it’s difficult to sit and talk to God about someone that you simply don’t like. But it’s so important!
Let’s read these verses, each day I want you to read one, and summarize it in your journal. Ask yourself what God is saying and how you can apply this to your life. See how God speaks to you as you write.
- Matthew 5:43-48
- Luke 23:32-43
- Acts 7:54-60
- 1 John 5:16
- 1 Chronicles 6:21
- Ephesians 6:18
- John 17:15