THE ROADS TO VICTORY
by paul hoffmaster
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Forgiving someone who has caused you to suffer either emotionally or physically is sometimes a very difficult undertaking. When the wound is severe enough to cause others to witness the results of these misdemeanors, we will face the roads of FORGIVING and FORGETTING. We must decide if we are going to travel those “inner spiritual” highways or take the roads of anger and bitterness. Forgetting the past is learning to forget the hurts and pains of the experience while, at the same time, looking at the situation as a learning experience. Satan will continually try to rewind and activate your past hurts. He will yield the point of your forgiving someone, but he doesn’t want you to forget it. Satan will concede that God can forgive and forget, but he makes it plain that you are not God. This tactic can back fire on Satan, if we will look back at the forgiven situation and see how we could have handled it in a different way. By doing that, we will be prepared the next time the arrows of either friendly or hostile fire strikes us.
If you can come to the point of forgetting, there is yet another road that awaits your arrival, and that is learning to TRUST AGAIN. There is a tendency to avoid close contacts with people because of the fear you may be hurt again. Realize that as long as humans exist, there will always be loose tongues. (James 3:8) Even your friends may say things that have a tendency to hurt. (Prov. 17:6) To be fair, not all receivable words are meant to be hurtful. The problem is not with the speaker, but with the hearer who exhibits over sensitive ears. Instead of turning up your hearing aids, try to keep everything in perspective. Don’t try to read more into what people are saying, as if a sentence were a paragraph. Before you accept words that you might interpret as hurtful, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe because of neglecting your Bible reading that day, your carnal antenna was scanning the air waves for anything that might justify your negative attitude.
After considering what goes into our ears and eyes, and our responses to personal attacks, we must also be aware of what comes out of our mouth. Some people are more concerned about the perceived wrong done to them than they are in releasing potentially hurtful words. Once words are released from our mouth, it is impossible to retract them. If our words are of an unintentional nature, the only thing we can hope for is that the hearer does not hear them or, if they do, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. Don’t let words escape your mouth without implementing David’s vow to God, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight…” (Ps. 19:14) In order for positive words to come out of our mouth, we need to learn to meditate on the things of God. Remember God loves everyone; maybe not their deeds, but He loves His creations. When we offend someone with our words or deeds, we are indirectly offending God. (Acts 9:4,5) As much as we dislike being hurt by situations initiated by others, we need to learn to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. (Matt. 7:12)
Let us learn to travel the roads of recovery, as well as learning not to hurt others with our careless words and or actions.
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