When I was a teen, I knew one day I would have to forgive him. Not the actions or excuse what had been done, but to really forgive. What a loaded word.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:13-14 NLT
Now before you throw the book to the floor (this is an excerpt from the Jamie Corisis’s book – “Behind the Walls”) , just a minute. Walk with me on this. I don’t know why but it was something deep within me that had to do this. Maybe because the Lord knew how much I would go through, and this was something that needed to flow easily. Or perhaps the Lord showed up in this way to remind me that I will be given His strength in the hardest of times. It was all Him who made it possible for me to say these words. I didn’t just read that verse from Colossians and say, “oh, ok. Let’s do this.” I knew it would be against every feeling in me. It would fight my human self. I had to teach myself what that verse meant and how to apply it to my world. If I didn’t forgive, I would be running in the opposite direction and then have twice the amount of healing time once I came back.
If God, who sent His son to die on a cross and bear every single person’s sins from the past until the end of life can forgive, I thought, “Well then, so can I.” Jesus had to also forgive people who purposely beat him and worked to destroy him physically, mentally, and spiritually. People who shamed him, embarrassed him and who didn’t care. If you can look to Jesus when you forgive someone, you can do this. If you look to the hurt and abuse, forgiveness won’t come.
I learned to separate from my feelings as a child. I was let down so often as a kid that I had to push them somewhere, so they were stuffed and boxed up somewhere locked up in my mind. The hurt was still there, and the repercussions of the actions done still affected me.
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Lewis 2017)
I found that I just said the words and never knew to look at the cross to understand what it truly meant.
Forgiveness does not mean I allow this person back into my life. I needed to practice discernment and not put myself in a place of reoccurring hurt. I guess I can say that knowing my grandma endured abuse and kept the men around, my mom endured abuse, and she tried to keep him around; maybe that’s what I was supposed to do. A few times, I tried to look like I had a full family unit, but the Holy Spirit very strongly pushed on my heart and said, “You don’t need to look like you have it all together. You can be whole and who I created you to be without this man around you to play a part.”
It would take years to know that I was whole, beautiful, and God’s child even without an earthly Father. God wants to be my Father, and He has shown me so many times.
There will be times when feelings come and steal my joy and try to control my life. The Lord knows those moments are coming, and He intervenes for me. He blessed us with a smart mind; we’re given wisdom and can decide not to let these moments of pain steal our joy.
Jesus died for that other person too, and if they are truly sorry and change their ways to look like Christ, they will also be forgiven. Is it up to us to see if they deserve it? Nope. Is it up to us to give the gift? No. Jesus does that part. Are we to emulate Christ? Yes. Do we need to let go and let Him make these decisions? Yes. Let Christ separate you from the evil that has happened and heal you, then let Him deal with that other person. Let Him take over.
Even Jesus asked God to step in.
When you forgive, you get to walk away and be healed! It’s anguish to separate yourself that much from the hurt that has been brought upon you—unimaginable pain. You are not your hurts. You’re not scars or bruises or abuse. What you are is loved, cherished, protected, beautiful, adored, safe, and worth Christ dying on the cross for!
“Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge.” – Psalms 50:6 NLT
We want to know that someone will pay for what has been done to us. But for ourselves and our health, we need to keep moving our life forward. Press on and be aware of your thoughts, focusing on Christ. I say all of this because I have had to overcome the very issues I am talking about. When thoughts get the better of us, our body feels sick. We can say the words “I forgive you” and realize our human nature, sometimes our actions and words collide and stay stuck in our head, and we don’t want to speak,. But we do have the ability.
He still sits with us in the valley and cries with us. He empathizes with us and knows our thoughts and feelings.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” – Philippians 2:13 NLT