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From Anger to Forgiveness

It's hard to make yourself vulnerable when the hurt runs deep

Have you ever found yourself dwelling on how someone hurt you with their words? Maybe the words came during an argument, or when you were under great stress. I experienced this recently. Someone said some mean things to me and it really hurt. I cried because those words cut me like a knife. I resolved not to speak to that person, which was hard because we lived under the same roof.

Looking back on this situation, I remember how God did lift my pain, and how I considered reaching out to that person who had hurt me so deeply, only to remember the words that seared my soul.

I wanted that wall of protection. I wanted to remember so I wouldn’t let it happen again. That sounds reasonable, right?

At that time the subject of forgiveness kept coming up in my study time, and on the radio show I follow. Then a friend who had no clue about what I was going through sent me a video about how what others think of me does not define me and that I should always put God first. So I started praying for strength to forgive. I explained to God that He needed to help me because I was still so mad at the person who hurt me and bitterness was taking over.

God gradually lifted me up. He was changing my heart and giving me strength. Then one morning I was ready to start a conversation with this person, but I stopped myself. Even though I wasn’t feeling the same pain from the hurtful words, I replayed the hurtful conversation in my mind. Why would I do that? God was helping me forgive, and I took the route of trying to make myself remember the pain instead of letting it go. Instead of taking the peace that God gave, I chose to put myself back into the anger and resentment by reliving the situation. I wanted that wall of protection. I wanted to remember so I wouldn’t let it happen again.

That sounds reasonable, right? It may sound reasonable from a human standpoint, but if my trust is truly in the Lord and if I’m truly letting Him fight my battles, then I don’t need to relive the pain from previous hurts. I don’t need to build that wall. I need to forgive.

We know hurting people hurt other people. If this relationship with the person I was living with was going to work, I needed to love as God loves me. If God eased my pain, I could rely on that instead of reliving that old pain. Forgiveness is a process. Of course, it’s easier to forgive for some things than for others. But when you see God lifting you, when you know that you are healing, you do not have to continue to remind yourself of the offense or hold on to the pain and the bitterness. After all, I wouldn’t want God to bring up all of the things I’ve asked Him to forgive me for.

 

Aleta Hall lives in New Boston, TX

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