“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4
More than once I have used the following quote, written by me, as the status on my personal Facebook page:
“Forgiveness means you walk away from the hurt and into the Light. You leave it in God’s hands and ask Him to send a resolution. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean subjecting yourself to mistreatment or misery! It just means you can let go and let God, and then be open to resolution when it presents itself!”
Because of the number of comments it always drew, and because so many of us find it difficult sometimes to forgive others or even ourselves, I wrote and posted the following in order to offer a little more in the way of explanation. I think it is good to update and re-post it every so often to remind those of us who need it, and to help those who struggle with forgiveness.
First, I truly understand how difficult forgiveness can be. I know there is no such thing as forgive and forget when there is serious hurt or serious consequences surrounding that which needs to be forgiven. Also, don’t think that I speak from atop a pillar, never having experienced hurt or deep disappointment in someone. I have, just as I am sure everyone has.
Second, I believe forgiveness must occur in order to make us whole again. I do know, in order to do so, we have to get outside ourselves. If we continue to focus on our inner hurt, if we continue to focus on what-ifs and buts, we will always take one step toward the Light, and then retreat right back into the dark. We will continue to hide in the dark, waiting for the offender to make it right! In order to get outside ourselves we must not let the hurt define who we are. When we are defined by hurt all of our thoughts and actions are a result of it. We are no longer in control!
Third, we must come to terms with the knowledge that we do not control the other person. They may or may not be hurt by the situation; they may or not ever come to apologize. They may not even realize they have caused the hurt! We cannot control them, but we can control ourselves. This doesn’t mean we do not feel the pain, or the hurt doesn’t exist, but that we are going to be in control of it.
Fourth, we cannot do it alone. If the hurt is too deep, it may not be in our power to forgive, or even to control. It is here we must go down on our knees and seek His help, His comfort, His wisdom, His power to resolve the situation. In doing so, we step into the Light. We allow Him to find the right solution for all. We wait patiently in the Light instead of hiding in the dark.
Last, we open ourselves to the resolution when it presents itself. When we allow God to resolve the situation in His own time, in His own Way, we must accept the answer. It may come in the form of an apology, or something else may happen that overrides the situation, something that is more important, more immediate. It may even be that a peace comes over us about the whole thing; somehow we can now live with it; we can let it go. Whatever the outcome, we have to be watchful, to not be so focused on our hurt that we miss it! If we miss it, we will return to the darkness.
Begin with the simple desire to forgive. Place your hurt at the foot of the Cross and let His Light pull you through the darkness. Then, walk into the Light sure in the knowledge that all is resolved, all is forgiven.
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7