Pow! You just received the ultimate slap across the face.
Someone you entrusted with your heart has recklessly broken it. Someone you shared a confidence with has blabbed the information all over town. Someone you went out of your way to please has belittled your efforts. Someone you entrusted with your wealth has stolen from you. Someone has made personal gain at your expense. You’ve been set up. Betrayal replaced anticipated loyalty.
You feel your heart pounding and the heat of your flushing cheeks. You struggle to hold back the tears, biting your lower lip. You do your best to maintain an overt appearance of tranquility, but inwardly you bitterly swear an oath of retaliation.
You curse yourself and ask, “How could I have been so stupid to think that so and so would have really changed for the better? I should have known better. This was hardly the first time this has happened. Enough is enough! This is the last time I turn the other cheek, and I don’t care who knows it or likes it.
You try your best to show that you are the better person by not creating a public scene to give those watching the impression that you are above negative reactions. But deep in your fallen nature, you are already plotting revenge.
When this is the mindset we choose to respond with, someone always pays dearly, but not necessarily the initiating party.
When negative emotions are suppressed they will manifest themselves in future outbursts, often venting the increasing internalized pressure on others who were not responsible for the hurt that generated it.
The deeper the hurt, the more challenging it is for us to reject the “natural” response of the self-centered, fallen nature within us.
Discipleship calls for us to promptly, completely, and unconditionally forgive those who hurt us. Such a response is not within human ability. This takes the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Disciples do not have the luxury of bearing a grudge, but we do have the option not to put ourselves in a position to be hurt in the same way again. No one is required to be another’s punching bag or doormat, but we are called to bear the burdens (fallen nature) of others. Where one draws the line between the two is a matter that each individual has to resolve with the Lord.
Both human and angelic observers will notice prompt and genuine forgiveness extended mercifully to others, especially when one is severely offended. Even among Christians, this is a rare find.
Putting something on the back burner, only to bring it forward at a “convenient” time is not forgiveness. Divine forgiveness puts the sin as far away is the east is from the west and is never brought up again.
Terminating or suspending a relationship may be a legitimate option we have, but committing the sin of refusing to unconditionally forgive the offending party is not.
How can refusing to forgive cause more harm to me than the one(s) I refuse to forgive?
Refusing to forgive is a sin. While trivial to the arrogance of our fallen nature, it is not so with God (James 2: 10).
All born again believers are forever saved and indwelled with God the Holy Spirit. Post-salvation sin does not result in the loss of salvation, but DOES result in the loss of the filling (control) of the God the Holy Spirit necessary to produce divine good (John 15: 5) until the known sin is confessed (1John 1:9) and forsaken (John 8: 11).
Periods out of fellowship with God can be as brief as the time it takes to confess the sin, or for as long as the rest of our post-salvation spiritual life here on Earth.
Accordingly, WE incur the loss of reward(s) for any divine good that we may have otherwise had the opportunity to produce if we had been in fellowship with God. God is denied the glory. Satan basks in our defeat and will do all he can to see that things stay that way.
If there is to be any retribution, let God be the engineer and deliverer.
Personally, I have found much healing power in the act of praying that God will extend to those who have hurt me the same mercy that He has shown towards me.
The loss of fellowship with God is the additional surcharge WE incur if we choose not to forgive those who have offended us.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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