We all experience setbacks and disappointments in life. Sometimes they are small ones that we shrug off or learn from. Then we move on. But, sometimes disappointments have a much bigger impact. Past disappointments can stay with us, causing the past to haunt our present … slowly bleeding into and disrupting our future.
These setbacks can be anything: an extra bill or bankruptcy … a friendship gone sour or a failing marriage … not getting that promotion … termination from a job … making a poor decision. It might be losing a parent at a young age, or the death of a spouse or someone else we cared for deeply. It could be being a victim of various kinds of abuse. Whether small or large, from parents, teachers, peers, the popular group, a crush, or an employer, rejection inflicts wounds. Unless we really process them, (and who can truly do that as a young kid?), these wounds will periodically open and ooze when we experience present-day hurts. Theses hurts could be in our own lives, noticed in others, or even seen in the media. Regardless, they re-open our past, unhealed wounds.
A natural tendency when we have suffered a wound is to try to place blame on someone. Perhaps we hold another person responsible. Sometimes we blame ourselves. We might even get angry with God. Anger is OK and is a productive emotion when used as God intended, but bitterness, revenge, and helplessness are not. These dysfunctional and disruptive feelings are a few signs that real forgiveness has not yet taken place.
God has promised us a future and a hope. Not forgiving the offender who hurt us can block our ability to experience all the freedom and healing that He has planned for us. God desires healing for our past wounds, and for their insidious ripples in the present and the future. As long as we are unwilling to forgive, we allow the hurt of our past to exert control over our lives, making it hard to move forward. You see, forgiveness is the salve that soothes every wound, making them ready for the powerful healing that the death of Christ and the grace of God ultimately bring.
Today, for some of you, it’s time to focus on forgiving those who have hurt you. Forgive because it’s for your benefit. Forgiving doesn’t leave others off the hook, For some, it’s probably time to forgive yourself. God has forgiven you. So don’t be so prideful as to think you could never forgive yourself. It’s time to open your heart to the love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father. Then you will be set free from some of your past and able to move on to the wonderful plans He has for you. Forgiving or wallowing in bitterness and revenge is your decision, so choose well.
Oh Forgiving God, help me to put the past behind and look forward to what lies ahead. Some days the bitterness of past hurts clouds my true calling. Those are such tough days. But now I see it is a choice. Give me a heart that forgives. Let that peace and freedom motivate more forgiveness. Thank You for forgiving my sins. Help me to walk in the gift of forgiveness … for others and for myself. Help me to search those past wounds with different lenses, those of an adult, growing in the knowledge and skills of Christ. Guide my learning and help me to apply what I learn so I can produce the good works that you have prepared for me. I pray this through the One who gave His life to forgive my sins, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Acts 26:18