If I were going to build a church from scratch, I’d build a church that’s quick to forgive and slow to hang on to hurt…
People are sinful and often do, and say, things that hurt others deeply; sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.
The scripture indicates that forgiveness is the proper response of every Christian when hurt.
But, “forgiveness is difficult!”
That having been said; those on the receiving end of hurtful words and actions sometimes hold on to hurts like they were some kind of warped prize to be displayed for all to see. Sometimes they use their hurt to play the victim, never moving forward, refusing to forgive and people who have hurt them.
I read a story about a man with a son named Paul. He and Paul had a “falling out” and hadn’t spoken in years. The father wanted desperately to see his son and mend their relationship. He didn’t know how to reach him. So, he put an ad in the newspaper, “Paul, I love you and forgive you; please forgive me. Meet me Wednesday at 2 in the park where we used to play when you were small. Love, Dad…” On Wednesday 800 men named Paul showed up.
In a world filled with sin, forgiveness is essential to maintain and grow relationships. All of us need forgiveness and all of us need to forgive. For Christians THIS ISNT OPTIONAL!!
“How do we learn to forgive others and let go of past hurts and not become victims who display our hurts like a tarnished trophy?”
First, let me say it clearly, “Forgiveness is a deliberate choice!” It begins with a decision to forgive, move forward and let go of the past.”
It sounds easy – it’s not!!
Here are some tips that might help…
Remember that you have been forgiven. God is the only one I know who has the right feel victimized by the sin of others. He’s never failed. He’s always loving. He’s always been there. Yet, He’s been mistreated and maligned by people like you and me. But, He’s never played the victim. He’s willing, and longs, to forgive us of every sin.
Christians ought to be a reflection of the Father; forgiveness should be at the top of our “to do list.” (If God doesn’t harbor ill feelings and unforgiveness towards us, then neither should we!)
Quit bringing up the past – don’t talk about it anymore! We like to vocalize our hurts and distresses over and over again…
At some point our words become more repetition that helps us feel bigger and better than our offender and gives us a means of holding on to the hurt.
When we are forgiven by God, He never brings up the past ever again. So, when you hear yourself going down those old familiar paths of hurt – STOP! Try this, pray and ask God to help. You might also try these things too; think about something else, talk about something else, or do something else.
“What if the person who hurt me doesn’t ask me to forgive them; is it OK for me to hold a grudge?” NO! Jesus said we were to love our enemies and pray for them. It’s your relationship with God that is on the line here. If someone who hurt me chooses to not acknowledge their part, that’s between them and God.
In an article by Pastor Stephen Cole reminds us that forgiveness is…
It cost God the death of His beloved Son…At the very least, it costs us the time and effort to go to the offender and try to work on reconciliation. It does not happen automatically or when you are passive.
God forgives us by grace alone, which is undeserved favor. If someone has to earn it, it’s not forgiveness. If you make him pay or do penance, it’s not forgiveness.
God doesn’t forgive just some of our sins… He forgives them all (1 John 1:9). So we can’t say, “I forgive you for this, but I’m not going to forgive you for that!”…
God doesn’t say, “If you do that again, I’m revoking your previous forgiveness!”… To forgive someone is to dismiss the case against him. You can’t bring it up again.
So, if I were going to build a church from scratch… I’d build forgiveness into its DNA.