People hurt people.
It’s a sad truth.
A truth that will cling to this life until death.
Reflecting on your own life, what’s a hurt that you can see on your heart?
How are you handling that hurt?
Are you avoiding any form of acknowledgment, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the people that caused you pain, hoping it will fade from memory, eventually?
Time heals, right?
I’ve been there.
Healing, and forgiveness, are not habits we’re naturally good at.
No one is.
Just ask Adam and Eve.
What happens at the first ever conflict? The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12.
Adam outs Eve to God and avoids any responsibility for playing the role of a silent bystander as Eve is tempted!
If I put myself in the shoes of Eve, although she was at fault, I can imagine she felt embarrassed, regret, anger, shame, and abandoned by Adam.
I wonder how long it took them to resolve that conflict…
Hurt is inevitable, but there is good news.
The wounds and brokenness we experience do not have to be permanent.
Restoring your heart from its state of brokenness is core to Jesus’ mission.
But what does restoration look like?
Let’s start with what it means to heal.
Healing ultimately starts by acknowledging your wounds, then taking a risk and choosing to forgive.
I want to emphasize here that forgiveness is a choice.
However, it is not an instantaneous change; it does not mean the anger and pain are gone, that you suddenly want to hug your transgressor.
Forgiveness means you acknowledge what was done, how it hurt you (Be honest about this! A good way of getting an internal inventory of how you’ve been hurt is to write a letter explaining how you’ve been hurt.) and deciding to give it to God and take the grace he’s given you to treat them with love instead of holding their mistakes against them.
We determine to do good to them rather than evil, following God’s example of love to us.
Forgiveness does not mean you can’t grieve.
Grieving is such a crucial part to the healing process. Healing can not begin without first opening the gates of forgiveness, which for me usually involve lots of tears and deliberately walking in God’s grace to avoid burying the necessary tears.
Personally, I’ve been so hurt that I didn’t say “I love you” to someone for two years.
So broken I could not empathize, missing the person in front of me, and seeing only their mistakes.
Thankfully after walking that broken path and realizing I would remain broken if I continued to give this person’s past actions power over my current state, I started to reclaim the power I’d given away by taking the risk to forgive.
Even though I certainly didn’t feel like it.
The crazy thing was after I did choose to forgive an enormous weight was lifted.
And I slowly started to move past my bitterness and hard heart and begin treating them as a friend.
Healing is not linear, progressing smoothly from one stage to the next in a logical way. Instead, healing makes sudden changes, and seems to develop in different directions at the same time. I chose forgiveness over three years ago and am still in a season of grieving and understanding my hurt.
I want to also emphasize that forgiveness does not mean you make it easy for the offender to hurt you again. Set healthy boundaries, something we’ll discuss further in another post.
Each of us has a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.
Jesus is waiting for you to turn to Him, and let Him restore your heart.
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” Psalms 61:1-3
Maybe the idea of forgiveness is a blip on the horizon at this moment, and you first need to start by looking at what wounds are on your heart and being honest with the current state.
Wherever you are, God will meet you there.
He is patient, and He desperately wants you.