By Georgia (Jo) Kent
“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Proverbs 17: 9
Have you been hurt by a friend in the past and it was impossible for you to let go of the hurt? Does it seem impossible to forgive them when whatever they said or did hurt you deeply? Part of true forgiveness is releasing the hurt, letting go of the pain. When we don’t, it becomes a constant spiritual and emotional drain, robbing us of joy and peace. When we refuse to release people from the hurt they have caused us, we are gluing them to their mistakes. When we cling to pain they have caused us, we are refusing to see them as more than something that they have done to cause us pain or anger.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 14
When we accept the forgiveness of God, He separates us from our sins. Then He calls us to do the same with the people in our lives. He doesn’t say that we have to feel like forgiving. He just commands us to forgive. Our obedience is what matters. Forgiveness is an independent act between God and us. It is totally separate from the response of the person we are forgiving. We are not responsible for their reaction; that responsibility belongs to them and to God.
“Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won’t be able to recover.” 2 Corinthians 2:7
Our responsibility is to forgive. When we refuse to forgive, we not only harm ourselves, we become a hindrance to God working in the lives of those who hurt us. Anytime that we impede the work of God we are in a dangerous position. To experience the power of forgiveness, we have to quit fishing in the emotional waters of our past. It is time to let go of the hurt. Choose to love your enemies and bless those who have harmed you. You will both be rewarded with peace and happiness and leave room for healthy relationships to grow.