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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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When People Hurt You

HurtLet all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

Have you been hurt by someone you thought you could trust? Was it a spouse, a relative, a friend, a group of friends, or people you respected? It is often hard to live in a world where honor, loyalty, and trust exist only in literary fiction. Our response to the pain of a broken trust may be anger for the lack of integrity revealed in the other person. Even if the relationship is mended and you forgive the offender, can the same level of trust that once existed be restored?

Trust is very fragile and can be lost instantly. Playwright Tennessee Williams once said, “We have to distrust each other. It’s our only defense against betrayal.” Is this the answer? People who feel the hurt of betrayal may sometimes seek vengeance (which they consider justice) for the pain they have suffered. Do we really feel better when we hurt others because of the pain we have felt? Paul writes, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (Romans 12:19 ESV)

 

When hurt is inflicted by those we care about, relationships are often destroyed. If you have been hurt by others, you know how hard it is to let go, move on, and heal the pain. Many times the person burned just wants to cut his losses and end the relationship. As Christians, however, we are confronted by Jesus, who said: “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15 ESV) In the Lord’s Prayer, Christ teaches us to pray “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 ESV) This principle is taught repeatedly in the Scriptures: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

George Herbert (1593 – 1633), the Welsh-born English poet, Member of Parliament, and Anglican priest wrote on this subject: “He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.” Paul writes, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)

Forgiveness is not excusing. It is acknowledging that the hurt done to you was wrong, but it is also acknowledging that since God has forgiven you, you will forgive the one who hurt you. Forgiveness may often be difficult. Sin’s effects may remain and there are often painful memories. It may require years of forgiving until the matter is settled in your heart. You will, however, know that its work is finished when you experience the freedom of forgiveness. A prisoner is released and you discover the real prisoner was you.

“For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

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4 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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  3. Needed to read this in light of ministry the last two weeks

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    • I understand.

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