We are asked to forgive others. In Christ's model prayer, He prayed, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." As the Lord reveals more and more about me to me, I realize that I am really not very forgiving.
I forgive individuals. If someone hurts me, regardless of whether or not they ask, I choose to forgive them. To do anything less would be disobedient to what God’s word teaches over and over. Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Judge not or you, too, will be judged.
The bible constantly provides simple solutions for real-life problems. Of course I have to read the bible to know that and I have to apply what I read consistently. All of it. Not just the parts I like.
Just when I think I’ve moved past the pain experienced in my past, it seems to present itself in the present. I believe God allows pain to lie dormant in order to strengthen us, but when the time is right – He allows circumstances to refresh our pain so that we can move to the next stage of healing and forgiving. Grudges surface and hurt resurfaces. One thing about emotion, it doesn’t know how much time has passed since the original offense. Hurt always feels fresh. The saying, "it gets easier with time," isn’t completely true. Hurt can’t tell time. Pain doesn’t wear a watch.
What I’ve discovered is I harbor grudges not against people, but against people groups. My forgiveness is being withheld from an entire people group not because I don’t like them but because I don’t trust them. I don’t like what they represent in my life. Allow me to put it this way: Have you been hurt in the past by a church? What about awful memories from high school where you were treated badly? Perhaps you’ve been laid off from a job that you were fully committed to for many years. We typically walk away limping, but we manage to smile and sometimes even wave when we see people from the particular group that inflicted the pain. But, the thought of that entire group still hurts.
Maybe our pain is brought out of remission in order to fully stretch our faith and mold us more into Christ’s image.
God tells me to pray for my enemies. Quite honestly, I can’t say that I have too many enemies. I do have people close and not-so-close that support or display characteristics that I view as anti-Christ. Now don’t flip out thinking I am calling a church, a school, or an employer the “Anti-Christ.” I am talking about people I like (and sometimes love deeply) who willingly and knowingly take a stand for someone or something that I see as being totally against Christ.
Guess what? I still have to forgive them. Christ loves us despite our sin. I must do the same towards others. After all, am I better than Christ? Sometimes I may act as though I think I am. Guess what again? Ego is anti-Christ.
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