Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Forgiveness is a huge topic and there’s no way that one post could do this justice. However, I wanted to focus on one particular aspect that God has been teaching me about recently.
Holding on to the Small Offences
When I talk about small
- At a summer
campI attended, I had an incident with a team member when we were out shopping. She did not like that I was in her space as we shopped in a particular store and told me to leave her alone which I did. However, the way she did this was what bothered me and I took offence to that.
- On my recent travels, I was overcharged for something I purchased. I knew it at the time but as it was not a lot of money I decided to go ahead as I wanted the items. What I took offence to in this situation was the fact that the man who overcharged me went to brag to another worker about what he did while I was still there.
When the offences seem small, I’ve discovered a hidden danger. There can be a tendency to suppress and ignore them. Instead of dealing with the offence and what we are feeling, we teach ourselves how to function with our dysfunction. However, this can cause more damage in the long term like a cut that is not cleaned can become infected and cause bigger issues in the future.
When we choose to forgive (and it can be a battle sometimes), we stop holding on to the offences that we were never meant to carry in the first place. We release them and hand them over to God. We surrender the gavel to God.
It’s a Process
I’ve learnt that although forgiveness in a particular instance can be a one-time action, it’s very often a process. Every time that I am tempted to relive the offence and remember the hurt I experienced, I know that I need to consciously choose to forgive again knowing that each time I do this, I release a bit more until I reach the point where I experience freedom in this area. The pain attached to the offence no longer exists but it doesn’t mean that a scar may not remain.
Taking on Others’ Offences
This is another area in which I struggle. I find that at times in my desire to be loyal and support my friends, I can take it a bit far. For example, I may take on the offences they may have against others. So the person has done nothing to me but I am treating him/her as though they have personally wronged me as I stand in solidarity with my friend.
In this situation, I’m not the one wronged but I had to learn that it’s most important for me to extend grace to the person who hurt my friend. The individual that wronged my friend may not necessarily be that same person today as people mature and change.
Therefore, in my interaction with this person, I’m still called to love and treat this person as I would like to be treated. It does not mean that I love my friend any less but becomes a testimony of my love for God as He helps me override my default reaction to share His love.
Owning My Feelings
As I wrap up this post, I wanted to mention one other point. For me to experience healing and growth in my life, I needed to be real and honest about what I was really feeling in the various situations I found myself in. As a sensitive person, I was often told how the little things shouldn’t bother me and I should let them roll of my back. So I tried to brush stuff off that bothered me instead of acknowledging what I was feeling and asking God to help me work on it. This basically delayed the healing process as God works with truth and not what I pretend to feel.
The reality is that some people will
Stop Holding It– Message by Ps Michael Todd (Transformation Church, USA)
✞ Are You Really In?