Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. Because of this, we will be hurt. What we do with the hurt is what will set us apart and allow us to be a light in this dark world. Whenever someone does something to hurt me deeply I need to run to God and sit at His feet and give the hurt and pain to Him. I’ve learned to make Psalm 139:23-24 a way of life.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)
You see, if we choose not to run to God and we choose not to allow Him to search our hearts concerning the hurt and the pain it will only become infected and this infection takes on a new form—the form of anger and bitterness. It’s interesting to note that the word “hurtful” in the above passage can also be translated as “offensive,” “wicked” and “grievous.” Think about this for a moment. As you have stuffed your hurt, pain, anger and bitterness deep within your heart, have you allowed it to become so hurtful to yourself that it has become not only offensive to God but also wicked and grievous to Him? In Ephesians 4:30-31, the apostle Paul writes:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger (NIV).
Yet, if that doesn’t convince you to let go of your hurt, pain, anger and bitterness, then consider this: according to Strong’s concordance, one definition of the Hebrew word for “hurtful” is “idol.”[i] An idol is anything you put before God or in place of God.
Therefore, consider this for a moment. Is it possible that you have allowed the hurt, pain, anger and bitterness to become an idol in your life? Remember, God is a jealous God, and He does not want to share His rightful place in your heart with anyone or anything. When you choose to hold on to hurt, pain, anger and bitterness, it can become a disgusting idol that you worship and protect within your heart.
And many times, that idol takes on the new form of unforgiveness. Which brings us to the topic of this blog. As Christians we are to model our forgiveness of others after God’s forgiveness of us. Because God has forgiven you and me, we need to forgive others. In other words, we are called to be imitators of God. In Ephesians 4:32-5:1, Paul admonished:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children (ESV).
Yet, as we become that imitator of God there is another point concerning forgiveness that is important to understand. Forgiveness is for our own sake. Ignoring this fact will cause us to dwell in the pit of despair. That’s why God calls us to forgive! Listen to what He said in Isaiah 43:25:
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more (NIV).
If God blots out our sins for His own sake, then this must be best for us as well. You see, forgiveness may or may not change the other person, but it will change us! It will set us free.
But there are some other issues concerning this topic of forgiveness that are important to understand which we will address in the upcoming blogs. They are: forgiveness is a heart issue and forgiveness is not accepting or tolerating a person’s wrong behavior. Plus we will learn the key to forgiveness. In other words, we will learn a tangible way to forgive those who have hurt us so that we can become all that God created us to be.
Until then, remember who you are in Christ. You are called to be an imitator of Him.
Is there a part of the forgiveness issue that is difficult to understand? Looking forward to your comments and questions. And please feel free to share this with your friends or pin it to a board.
[i] Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “hurtful,” dictionary and word search for otseb (Strong’s Hebrew #3939). http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H03939&Version=kjv.