I am confronted with a daily challenge. How do you forgive someone who intentionally hurts and offends you every day? How do you endure someone you can’t walk away from because you are tied to them by God and earthly law?
Both the Word and wise counsel from others say that we must forgive, continually, if needed. Matthew 18: 21-22 shows this to us:
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I don’t say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
In Matthew 18:23-35, He then teaches us the parable of the unforgiving debtor.
However, since I am still flesh, I struggle when faced with the same unrelenting offenses every day, and I have to take one day at a time. Some days I can choose not to think about it and be truly grateful for all the amazing things that God continues to do in my life. I can “rise above” it.
Other days, I find myself deep in the ditch with my old friends, resentment and bitterness. On these days, it feels cruel that I am, in fact, dishonoring all the Lord has done by focusing on these worldly offenses rather than choosing to forgive as He forgave me. I don’t like to think of myself as a hateful person, but I can’t deny feeling contempt. This in turn brings shame and a feeling of helplessness with it. I envy those whose deep hurts are in their past, even if they are still struggling with healing. It is difficult to heal, defend my heart against ongoing offenses, and resist the temptation to seek my own will all at the same time.
Over time, this cycle of good and bad days is stretching out to include more good ones than bad. The practice of mindfully giving this issue over to God each day and intentionally choosing to trust that the Lord will work all things out for good helps because He has already proven this to me personally so many times. Occasionally, I get tired and frustrated and feel that I may not be able to endure or withhold from seeking my own will. There have been times when I have prayed in the form of a full-on hissy fit style meltdown before the Lord (please don’t tell me I’m the only one out here who has been there as that would be embarrassing). In that situation, I beg Him to change my attitude when what I really want is for Him to change my circumstances. In those moments, He has been faithful to soothe my frayed heart.
The bottom line is this. My testimony hinges on all of the amazing ways the Lord has intervened, comforted, guided, protected, and prospered me. It hinges on my continued trust in the almighty sovereignty of the Lord. I continue in obedience, humility, gratitude, and perseverance despite my desire for relief. All in this world is transient and finite, and I desire to honor the blessing that I will inherit.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
About the Writer:
Amy is a joyful believer who is experiencing the healing power of understanding one’s identity in Christ. She is grateful to serve among amazing sisters in Christ at her church and for a church body full of beautiful believers who model the pursuit of Christ with their words and actions. She is also a mother of two tweens (pray for her) and enjoys her career as a scientist and medical writer.