This thought from C.S. Lewis seems to ask too much of us. If we are to be who God created us to be, then we must make that difficult voyage from how others have hurt us to forgive them. Our Father asks tough things from His children. He asked even tougher things of His Son in calling Him to forgive those responsible for His death. Let those words of passionate love spoken from a man enduring agonizing suffering on the cross for sinful humanity be etched upon our memory. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV).
True love means the willingness to forgive others for how they have hurt you. But we must go there to be the people God is creating us to be. If we stop mid-stream and harbor unforgiveness, we hurt not only ourselves but all those around us. I share some thoughts about how tough that journey can be.
I prayed yesterday about the thoughts I shared about our old microwave.
I thought even though the piece was serious that the humor of it came out of the situation, but Karen had a different perspective. She said it revealed a feeling of being beleaguered and a lot of pent up frustration and anger. I would have far preferred to keep my pain silent, but to do so would be to fail our Father and you as my readers. I am called to be real with you regardless of how difficult that is. Showing you the parts of my character God is still working on is uncomfortable, but for my writing on matters of Christian maturity to be as meaningful as it should be, I need to show you some of the imperfections in me. The truth is a dear friend I trusted hurt me by the things she said to me in a private message. I had invested a lot of my time helping her, but this is the reality of life. You will always have people who hurt you by the things they do and say. I only need cite the malicious hate of others displayed on social media platforms such as Facebook. I know a dearly beloved friend who makes limited appearances on Facebook because of the poisonous venom of others attacking her for her faith. Why do people do cruel things like this? It’s because they like all of us are on a journey of being perfected in love. You will always encounter people who find it too much hard work to deal with their issues. Instead of doing this they will seek to make you feel guilty for the situation they created through their own disobedience to God.
The important thing to remember is to keep loving them as Christ calls you to, and pray for them. This is the true test of love – caring when the hurt within you says not to, when the pain gets entrenched so deep inside you, that it would seem easier to bury it, to not look at it, and to say you’re weak for allowing the thoughts of a friend to affect you so much. The training from our past says to have a tougher skin, but these are all lies. Being wounded is not the sin. Carrying that within your heart, and letting it ruin your life is.
When you are deeply hurt knowing God specializes in fixing the brokenness in others can be so tough to remember. In my marriage to Karen, I can either have a marriage or insist on my right to be right. God calls us as Christians to a higher standard of forgiveness. If God is so willing to forgive the sin in us why aren’t we as willing to forgive others for theirs? I know. The wounds those you trust inflict upon you can run so deep. It seems impossible to forgive. For some of us, that journey takes longer than others. God knows your hurt more than anyone else. He is there waiting to hear you say. “Father, I choose to forgive those who have harmed me. I ask You to carry out that forgiveness in my heart.” Let all the hate out, and let God in. Allow Him to love on you. Give Him the permission to take the healing balm of His Son’s love, and pour it all over you. Let the tears come, and the healing rain flow.
I said to Karen, “Darling, it would be easier for me if I didn’t care about people so much.” She looked at me with tenderness as she said, “Darling, that’s what makes you such an effective therapist. You show a willingness to be vulnerable. Never lose that. You can’t help others if you only give a part of yourself.”
Karen speaks the truths I need to hear. Perhaps, what I share will help others out there who are struggling with forgiving the terrible harm inflicted upon you.
I pray these thoughts have helped you in some way.
Keep loving others. It’s the greatest gift you have to offer wounded lives. In giving love from the heart of Christ’s compassion within you, rivers of inner healing can flow into their lives and yours.
Let Christ’s love and forgiveness for the inexcusable be at the heart of who you are.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are psychotherapists and pastoral counselors. Kevin is going to be a chaplain. He also feels called to be a professor of Psychology specializing in Pastoral Theology. Karen is the Director of a women’s abuse shelter. She enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Things Bright and Beautiful. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories and helps others with their problems using his hand puppets, Dr. Teddy, who is a therapy teddy bear, and Mike the Moose from Matheson. This is a small town in northern Ontario, Canada, an hour’s drive south of the city of Timmins. Dr. Teddy and Mike the Moose from Matheson are consultants with us in our counselling practice.We are available to assist with worship and preaching to give busy ministers a much-needed break. We offer in-office, and phone counselling to anyone in the world.
Co-author on Mind’s Seat, a Christian inspirational blog