Forgiveness is not easy. It is often hard and costly. It was costly for Jesus to forgive our sins, and it will be costly for us to forgive other people’s offenses against us. But if we believe that forgiveness is costly, then unforgiveness is even costlier because unforgiveness always imprisons us. (p. 156)
Lorraine Hill broaches a difficult subject this week but she is exactly right. Studying forgiveness highlights another way that God asks us to depart from following the world. Listening to God’s wisdom means rejecting the voice that whispers (and sometimes shouts) that we are hurt but we can protect ourselves by remembering and holding onto offenses to prevent them happening again. What faulty logic! Satan tells us we are wounded people – that is our identity. Think of all the TV shows, books, magazine articles and songs that have been written about being hurt. Many people identify themselves by their wound: “abused”, “neglected”, “abandoned”, “divorced”, “widowed”; the list is endless. God tells us our identity is found in Him: therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). Our name is “Redeemed By the LORD”…They will be called The Holy People, Redeemed By the LORD. And you will be called Sought After A City That Is Not Abandoned (Is 62:12).
It is also faulty logic to think that we can protect ourselves from, or prepare ourselves for, hurt by holding onto an old hurt. Instead we are just constantly re-living the pain. Sometimes we say, I can forgive but I will never forget. I have found this to be just another trap. God is to be our example in everything and how does He forgive? He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Ps 103:10, 12). The Lord says, “their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). But this is counterintuitive – how can we actually “forget”? <<sigh>> If I knew this, I would bottle it and sell it on Etsy! LOL 😉 Seriously, this is part of our individual journey with God. We all hold onto hurts to varying degrees but God calls us to abandon that kind of thinking and living, for His good and ours. We cannot serve God with our whole heart, if it is filled with resentments. And the loving Father that He is, He knows that holding onto hurt, as though it is a precious treasure, will destroy us. Read more about giving God our best AND our worst is this post from An Acceptable Offering. Following the way of the world leads us away from God. But following God will lead us to places we could never have found on our own.
JustaGirl…just like you!