The last time I went to a funeral, my heart was so heavy thinking about the brevity of life. On my way back to work, thoughts of how fleeting life is occupied my mind. When a colleague asked how the funeral went, I answered, “Life is too short to hold grudges.” To that, he replied, “Not only must we forgive, but we must ask forgiveness from others!”
Forgiveness is no easy feat, but it is the essence of the gospel. As believers, we know the One who made forgiving others easier for us because He forgave us when we didn’t deserve it. But we don’t realise how much grace we would need to let go and let God until we get on the struggle bus.
So, how do we allow God to do what only He can do in our journey of forgiveness?
One of my favourite Bible verses is Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” I wholeheartedly believe that nothing can touch or harm me unless our sovereign God permits it. Know and embrace this truth. It helps us understand that God will bring good out of our hurt.
Even betrayals are means He uses to fulfil His greater purpose in our lives
Joseph’s story clearly illustrates how God uses unpleasant events of our lives for our good and His glory. For God’s children, even betrayals are means He uses to fulfil His greater purpose in our lives.
Don’t pretend all is well until we are healed. Scripture tells us we are not alone in our brokenness. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Inviting God into our pain is an essential part of the healing journey. I have found two books of the Bible to be extremely helpful in seasons of hurt and loss: the book of Psalms is a healing balm; Job teaches us how to respond to trials.
It’s easy to praise and bless the Lord when life is good. But believing in the goodness of God when life is hard requires faith and grit—hope in the One who never fails. Pour out your heart to the divine Healer. Let Him shine through your brokenness.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Love your enemies. Pray for them, says Jesus. This is easier said than done. But giving up our right to punish them for the wrong they did to us is the path to forgiveness. Forgiving them doesn’t mean we won’t feel the pain or think about the event anymore. But it does mean that we will not wish harm upon them.
Note how Joseph responded during the reunion with his brother. He used that opportunity redemptively, giving them enough food to sustain them during the famine. Joseph’s heartless brothers ended up experiencing the mercy of God through him. They enjoyed sufficient provision during a famine.
In the same way, if we get opportunities to bless our enemies, we have to do so. Be thankful that God used them to refine our faith and surprise you with His abundance. Let God redeem our story—and theirs. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).
The closer we draw to God, the farther we will be from the valley of bitterness
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life” (Psalms 119:50). Forgiveness is a journey. It will take spiritual discipline on our part to persevere when the pain of recovery hurts. Without prayer and intentional renewing of the mind through the reading and practising of God’s Word, forgiving what we can’t forget would seem like an impossibility.
But when prayer and obedience are a priority, we won’t be without hope, even on difficult days. Slowly but surely, healing will come, and we will feel the joy of forgiving them. The closer we draw to God, the farther we will be from the valley of bitterness.
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