Lately God has been teaching me a lot about giving grace. Colossians 3:13 says, “ Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” We all love the fact that Jesus forgives us, because we know that we mess up. We try and reach perfection, but we never make it. We always fall short. We always stumble. We always need God’s perfect love and forgiveness. When we ask for it, we receive it. God forgives us and loves us as if we had never sinned. He loves us even when we don’t deserve it.
So why is it so hard for us to love others when they don’t deserve it? Why is it so hard for us to forgive others? I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard to forgive someone who does me wrong. There have been many people in my life who have maliciously hurt me, backstabbed me, and labeled me worthless. I have had a lot of failed or rocky relationships in my life, so I stay very guarded. I don’t trust people. I don’t let people in. I look for the worst in people, and I wait for someone to mess up. Not so that I can judge them, but so that I can protect myself. I always saw this as a good attribute but God has been showing me a different angle on things.
My flesh says that people shouldn’t want to hurt me. That people should love me. People should respect me and value me. People should be kind and courteous. People should be loving and gracious. My flesh says that when someone hurts me I should put a wall up. I should block them out of my life because of the way they have acted. I should show them that their behavior is unacceptable. I should treat them how they treat me. I should get revenge. I should put them through the same thing they put me through. I shouldn’t love them, because they don’t love me. I should show them how it feels to be a victim.
God says people will always hurt you, they’re human. People won’t always love you like they should. People don’t always respect and value you. People aren’t always kind and courteous. People won’t always be loving and gracious as I have commanded them to be. You are all human and you will all choose sin over holiness at some point in your life. God says when someone hurts you, love them anyway. You should choose to forgive them as I have forgiven you. Their behavior is not acceptable and they will answer to Me on Judgement Day. I will judge them righteously and they will answer accordingly for their sins. Even though they wronged you, you have to learn to forgive them. Bitterness and resentment will only make life harder on you. You have to learn to love them through their sinful nature as I love you and sent My Son to die on the cross for you. THAT is what it means to be a victim. Jesus was condemned, tortured, and crucified on a cross for YOUR sin.
As you can imagine, I have been wrestling with God over this topic for quite a while. I think we all do wether we want to admit it or not. It’s hard when others hurt us, and it’s even harder when they do it on purpose. You make it to the expert level when the other person isn’t even the slightest bit sorry. Forgiving someone who continually hurt you and has absolutely no remorse is one of the absolute hardest things you will ever do. In fact for some people, it’s nearly impossible. But guess what? I serve a God who is bigger than my struggles. I serve a God who makes the impossible possible. I serve a God who tells me, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mathew 7:7)
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, but God! You have no idea how they hurt me!” Yes He does. No matter how hard someone has made your life, you’re still alive. You still have breath in your lungs, and a heartbeat in your chest. When you get into the victim mindset, remind yourself what Jesus went through. He was mocked, ridiculed, disrespected, beaten to a pulp, and hung on a cross. He was innocent. He had every right in the world to hate those who were putting Him through the unjust agony and pain, but what did He do instead? He loved them. In the midst of being crucified Jesus prayed for those killing him! He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:31) If Jesus forgave those people as they were murdering Him, you can forgive the people that have wronged you. You can forgive that person that lied about you. You can forgive that person that made fun of you. You can forgive that person who backstabbed you. You can forgive that person that abused you. You can forgive that person who traumatized you. You can forgive that person who gave you anxiety, depression, or PTSD. You can forgive that person who tortured you. You can forgive that person that held a knife to your face, or a gun to your head. Not by your own strength, but with God’s.
Mathew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
The Bible continuously tells us to forgive one another. Freedom is found when we forgive others. Forgiving others will lift a huge weight and burden off of your chest. It will allow you to move on and live the life that God has called you to. Yes, it can be crazy hard at times, but God can help us love the unloveable. He can help us to become more like Him in everything that we do, and everything that we are. Be more gracious. Be more kind. Forgive even when they don’t deserve it. Be the first to apologize. Be the one to admit when you’re wrong. Forgive like you want to be forgiven. Be a friend that you want to have. Listen like you want someone to listen to you. Compliment someone like you want to be complimented. Make someone feel special like you want to feel special. Respect others like you want to be respected. I could continue to name holy attributes all day long, but the fact of the matter is that we need to learn how to love others as Christ loves us.
John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Pray with me.
-God, please forgive me and all of my sinfulness. Show me how to love others as you love them. Please help me to forgive those who have hurt me. Help me to heal my wounds and scars others have given me. Show me how to be gracious and merciful like You are. Please prepare my heart for future wounds. Help me to be strong in Your Word and deep in Your love. Thank you for sending Your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you for reminding me who the true Victim is and how He is now an everlasting King. You are such a good Father. I love you, Lord. Amen.-