I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Shana Schutte
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
I have a confession. There have been a couple times in my life when someone has sinned against me that I haven’t had cuddly and fuzzy feelings toward them. In fact, my first response wasn’t even forgiveness. It was that I wanted justice; I wanted them to feel a little of the pain I was feeling. (I know, super ugly confession.)
Emotional pain is a part of all of our lives. Sometimes it’s circumstantial, not caused by someone. Other times, it is caused by another person and it may even be intentional. Hurt may come to us through the sins of betrayal, deception, harsh words, abuse, or even unmet expectations.
A while back, after doing some ungodly stewing about a particular personal mistreatment, I looked for biblical answers online and came across some tremendous teaching from Bob Hamp of Gateway Church.
As I watching a video from Hamp, I learned that emotional pain inflicted by another person through sin, anger, and the desire for justification are connected, and I was reminded that forgiving others is a gift from the Lord Jesus.
Here’s how it often shakes out when someone hurts us:
Someone sins against us.
We feel emotional pain.
We become angry.
Then, we want to try to fix the pain we feel by making the other person pay. We want to seek justification through pay back.
Maybe we want them to feel the pain we feel. We want them to be unhappy. But of course, no amount of revenge or justification can ever remove the hurt we feel. It’s impossible.
So, what’s the answer for our pain? It’s accepting what the other person did to us, acknowledging and accepting the pain they caused us, and even accepting the consequences of their actions in our life.
This may sound like giving up. It’s not. It’s the answer for emotional healing and freedom. Why? Because only when we accept what they did to us and accept the consequences of what happened can we give our hurt to God so He can heal us. It’s impossible to fix our pain through payback. Until then, our hearts will be so hardened toward the other person and focused on what they did, that God’s healing for our pain will be blocked. When you “let the other person go” and let God deal with their sin, you can finally be free to turn to Christ and allow Him to minister to your pain. Revenge and justification can never heal. Only forgiveness can.
So, it is true after all. . .forgiveness isn’t just for the other person, it’s for us too. It’s a gift from the Lord Jesus so we can be emotionally set free from the pain of being wronged. Hallelujah!
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: