A dear friend of mine’s husband has disappointed and gravely hurt her by his unfaithfulness, and she’s been left with a gaping wound. The enemy of her soul is doing his best to get her consumed with unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness— ‘settled anger’ –so that those sins will eat away at her and negatively impact her fruitfulness for His kingdom. I imagine you can relate to this temptation because you too have been wounded by someone else’s sin—no matter how ugly— and have heard Satan’s voice wanting you to rehearse over and over again every aspect of the sin that was committed against you. It is when you have been wounded by someone else’s sin that you are extremely vulnerable to the attack of the enemy, and when it is especially critical that you ”guard your heart.” (Proverbs 4:23) You must fight this tactic of the Enemy to keep you in a place of anger and resentment as if your life depends upon it—because it does!
This does not in any way mean that the pain when someone deeply sins against you is not real. Oh, it’s very real! And, the closer our relationship is with the person who wounded us the greater the pain. God does not expect or want us to deny the reality of the pain. That would be like saying that if someone stabbed you in the gut it was merely a flesh wound. If it were a physical wound, you would immediately seek medical attention and go to the Emergency Room.
Praise be to God that we have a Great Physician who longs to and is able to heal us when we have been wounded in our spirit! He says to us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.”(Matthew 28:11Amplified) Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 147:3).
Jesus is a Physician Who totally understands how to deal with your pain because, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, and forsaken by His closest friends. And He endured that pain— as well as the physical pain of crucifixion and the even greater pain of separation from His Heavenly Father—for my sake and yours. He can understand your pain like no one else does or ever could.
When you are tempted to withhold forgiveness from those who have hurt you, remember that Jesus fully understands your struggle. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
If we are not to succumb to sin when we have been offended, we must do as Jesus did when He was tempted. He went to the Word and picked up the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ (the Word of God) so He could defeat the attack of the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11). God’s Word, the Bible tells us that Jesus on the cross cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) We have been called to follow Jesus’ example and forgive those who’ve hurt us too. In the deepest sense, they too have no idea what they arereally doing. Apart from the grace of God at work in your life and mine, there is no sin that we are not fully capable of committing too.
When someone hurts you, look to Jesus, look to the cross! “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3) Look to the One Who was ‘wounded for your transgressions’ (Isaiah 53:5), and respond as he responded.
Pour your heart out to Jesus and ask Him to give you His heart. Ask Him to give you eyes to see your offender as He sees you—eyes filled with love and the understanding that all sinnersare going to sin and all desperately need a Savior! Jesus’ forgiveness of your sin has allowed you to go ‘from death to life’; He asks you to be a willing vessel through which His Spirit can move and allow His forgiveness for the other person to flow through you. If you are willing to turn to Him when you are in pain and to ask Him to fill you with His love and forgiveness, He will enable you to forgive the one who hurt you, no matter the depth of your pain. God gives us the privilege of partnering with Him to help bring those who’ve offended us from ‘death to life’ by ‘forgiving as He’s forgiven’ us. (Colossians 3:12-13)
Are you aware that after someone hurts you deeply that you are extremely vulnerable to and must guard yourself against Satan’s attack to take you captive to the sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment? Are you willing to take your pain to Jesus and allow Him to bring healing to you and to give you the power to ‘forgive as He’s forgiven you’?
Written by Julie Van Gorp