“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:14-15 – emphasis added)
As Christians we are called to forgive those who offend us. Christians are supposed to live together in peace and love…and yet unfortunately all too often Christians hurt and wound each other with their actions and attitudes. For me, it seems like its harder to forgive other Christians. If someone you trust hurts you or accuses you of something that is untrue, then it takes quite a bit of work to get beyond that and move on.
In my life, there are two big events where fellow Christians hurt me…one of those times was through a false accusation. In one of these instances, I felt betrayed by someone I trusted. Both situations are incredibly hard to deal with. What do you do when you are falsely accused of some action? What do you do when a fellow Christians betrays you?
As hard as it may be, Scripture calls all believers to forgive those who wrong them. That can take work!!
After the incident when I was falsely accused of something, I really struggled with bitterness. My character had been unjustly attacked. That is definitely hard to deal with! At the same time though, I knew that I was called to forgive those who had wronged me. I tried! I prayed…and I kept telling myself, “I forgive so-and-so.” But that bitterness always seemed to creep back in.
Eventually, at a conference my family and I attended, a speaker said something that struck me deeply. He said that forgiveness is choosing to live with the scars of what happened. This revolutionized my thinking about forgiveness and bitterness!
I had been expecting that when I truly forgave this person who had wronged me…that I would no longer feel any pain or sorrow over the event. I was expecting everything to return to the way things were before the accusation! I was completely forgetting that you can’t erase what happened. Whenever I’m hurt or when I hurt someone, there will be residual effects…there will be scars. You can’t eliminate all traces of what happened.
But scars indicate healing. No longer is there an open wound; the wound has healed and yet it has left an indelible mark. That’s the way hurts and wrongs are. They can be forgiven and restoration can occur…but there will always be the scar.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness…be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32 – emphasis added)
~ Melinda ~