you ever been hurt by another person? If you are human, you have been
hurt. Do you harbor that pain instead of forgiving the one who inflicted
it? Might you unknowingly blame God for the pain? No, you exclaim! You
love Him. He is your Savior! If asked you would never believe you are
angry at God. You are angry at the one who inflicted the pain. But isn’t
it a possibility that anger toward the one who hurt you might actually
be toward God for allowing something so devastating? The inability to
forgive is a terrible cancer. It eats at your spiritual health, and not
only destroys human relationships. It ultimately destroys your
relationship with God.
“Do not judge,” Jesus instructs, “and
you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Isn’t the inability to
forgive really judgment of that person? Personal betrayal or rejection
does not give you a personal license to be angr
at God or anyone else. The Holy Spirit invites us to acknowledge our
pain so we might forgive. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
freedom,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 3:17). To receive forgiveness we
must give ourselves away—freely as Jesus gave his life. We are forgiven
as we forgive others.
Rick Warren imparts in his popular
bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan, 2002), that God never
wastes a hurt. He writes, “If you really desire to be used by God, you
must understand a powerful truth: the very experiences that you have
resented or regretted most in life—the ones you’ve wanted to hide and
forget—are the experiences God wants to use to help others.” When you
forgive, God never wastes your hurt. If you want to be used by God, you
can’t harbor feelings of anger and hurt toward anyone. Give yourself
away in your heart to the one who has hurt you, and you face the pain
with the power and freedom on the Holy Spirit. You will discover that in
giving yourself away, you will receive.
Jesus waits for our
response. Are we willing to return what He has given? Will we actually
do as He asks? Make something good come out of what is bad. Turn it
around for God’s glory. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness
so others might be healed, too. Out of your life will flow rivers or
“I will give you a new heart,” the Lord
promises, “and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your
heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).