Have you ever been hurt by a person so badly that, try as you might, you just couldn’t forgive? I mean totally forgive, so that the relationship is no longer broken.
A definition of forgiveness that I have found is: ceasing to feel resentment for wrongs and offenses; pardon involving restoration of broken relationships.
I have had hurts like that several times in my life, and God has had different lessons about forgiveness for me to learn each time.
The one that comes to mind now is one I struggled with for several years. I tried and tried to forgive this person, but I continued to feel resentment, and the relationship remained broken.
Then I had this great idea. I would forgive this person, but that didn’t mean we had to have a relationship. That made me feel a lot better, until . . .
One day I was listening to some talks by Ken Sande, then president of Peacemaker Ministries. He brought up this exact situation and then asked how you would feel if you went to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you, and He said, “Alright, I forgive you, but I don’t want anything to do with you.”
That impacted me like a knife in my heart! I was so convicted!
I don’t remember how much I asked the Lord for help in my efforts to forgive previously, but at this point, I had come to the end of myself and cried out to God, for I knew that forgiveness of this magnitude was not something that I could do on my own.
I remember sitting on my porch one evening, asking God what to do, when out of the blue, He impressed me with this partial line from a song: “. . . e’er to take, as from a father’s hand.”
Loving to sing the old hymns, I knew immediately that it came from “Day by Day” by Lina Sandell. The complete sentence is, “Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e’er to take as from a father’s hand.”
God was telling me I needed to accept this “trouble” as if it was He who had given it to me–for my own good, as a father gives. In other words, this person could not have hurt me if He had not allowed it–and He had allowed it, as a loving father, for my good.
To this day I don’t know the reason why God allowed this hurt—neither have I ever received an apology—but I now have peace that for some reason, it would have been bad for me not to have gone through this trial. I trust God that He was in control of this other person’s actions and was somehow protecting and loving me through the whole situation.
I now have peace and a restored relationship. This was a time when something seemed impossible for me, but “with God, all things are possible.”
If you need more help, check out the Peacemakers Ministries website and pay particular attention to the “Foundational Principles,” principles from the Bible that are a simple yet powerful system for resolving conflict.