Over the years, friends have asked me how or why I let things go and manage to forgive people for the things they’ve done. Sometimes, I believe Vickie Winans’s song is my theme “I’ve been lied on, cheated, talked about, mistreated. I’ve been used, scorned, talked about sore as bone. I’ve been up, down, almost to the ground, but long as I got King Jesus I don’t need nobody else.”
What I hear most is how they would have cursed someone out, beat them down, don’t think they could forgive them, etc. Just because I’ve learned to forgive doesn’t mean thoughts of revenge didn’t cross my mind nor does it mean I will continually place myself in a position to be used and abused by that individual. While there are several ways to dig into forgiveness, I’m just going to address why I choose to forgive.
1. The “injustice” was done once and many times was unintentional. As long as I replay the even in my head, I will continue to be injured. I seriously doubt the person that cut me off on the interstate will spend the next few hours laughing and bragging about how he beat me to exit 28B. Most times, the driver didn’t intend to cut me off or felt he was getting me back for something he felt I did to him. What good is it going to do me to harp on how rude he was and complain for the rest of the day? I’m the only one being bothered because I insist on staying angry.
2. When someone does something to me purposely, I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of getting under my skin or hurting me repeatedly. I refuse to worry myself to an ulcer because the next man is an idiot. For example, you may have somebody close to you flip the script or start lying on you. Let them be stupid by themselves.
3. I look at the spirit in the person and the situation leading to the action. For instance, one of the young men I worked with in a behavioral facility went into an angry fit and became destructive. During this time, he destroyed a dvd I had brought for everyone to watch. It probably had a $6 value, but I had to pay the library $25 to replace it. I was upset MAYBE a few seconds then calmly went about my job. Why? I knew his background, why he responded the way he did and knew he had been working on controlling his temper. Of course, I didn’t take another dvd around him because it would have cost me if he became destructive again, but I made a conscious decision to let it go.
4. “25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
“12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Matthew 18:21 – 35 tells the story of a master who forgives his servant of a debt of approximately 10 million dollars ($10,000,000), but the servant goes and finds the man that owes him less than $100 and demands payment.
Notice that it says forgive so that you may be forgiven. That also means that if you don’t forgive, God won’t forgive you. We cannot expect God to forgive all the times we do wrong or offend Him while we are unwilling to forgive our fellow man. I do not want my relationship with Him to be affected because I’m holding a grudge against someone else. I have more important things I could focus on than why Suzie Q is talking about me.
5. Someone is always going to have something to say about you, especially when you’re walking in the plan of God.
“15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” I Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15
“Touch” isn’t restricted to physical contact but also extends to speaking against us. How do I know God will stick up for me?
“22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.” Proverbs 20:22
Now, you could find a way to “get them back”, but please believe that your best effort for revenge will not compare to any idea God has to recompense you. If God hasn’t instructed you to retaliate, you need to wait. Often times, you may want the person to suffer immediately. You may not even be around when God decides to act, but rest assured, whatever is sown will be reaped. If a person is sowing lies, malice, evil deeds, etc., it will come back. I’ve seen it happen in cases with such a large payback, I’ve been compelled to ask God to have mercy on them.
Of course, this is a bit easier for me because I’ve put this into practice many times. I don’t want to give someone else the power to keep inflicting pain on me, and I don’t want to put a barrier between myself and God because I feel like holding a grudge.
(Original post August 10, 2008 9:46pm)