We’ve all been there. Someone you know or maybe even someone you don’t did something completely unacceptable toward you, and you’re probably left humiliated, hurt, and most likely angry. Maybe your significant other broke up with you or cheated on you. Maybe your child has run away from home even though you have done nothing but give him or everything. Maybe you got fired from your job, and your boss doesn’t even act like he or she cares that you can barely put food on the table. Whatever the circumstances at hand, you have been left feeling numb or bitter.
I’ve experienced this before. People who were really close to me broke my trust by stabbing me in the back or broke my heart by leaving me in the dust. They were some of the hardest moments of my life, and it certainly wasn’t fun going through the pain. But the thing is, one day, I realized holding on to the pain and the unforgiveness was only holding me back, not the other person.
Ever heard the saying, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die”? Forgiving is sometimes a lot easier said than done. It definitely takes time, but it’s worth it in the end. In fact, the Word tells us in Matthew 5:39 (NIV), “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
“Wait, hold up. WHAT!? I have to just act like nothing happened and move on? I have to, in fact, turn my other cheek toward them and give them another chance to hurt me? I can’t do something to get back at them? Becca, you have to be joking.” But am I?
Here are two verses that might help you understand. Romans 12:19 (NIV) states, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV) states, “‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.'”
The Word is explaining to us that we don’t have to go out for revenge and try to make sure that someone gets what’s coming to him or her. In fact, our God is so awesome that He makes sure the person has to answer for whatever he or she has done and tells us that revenge is His. He will avenge us because we are His children, and He loves us. He will look out for us.
He wants us to know that there will be a time when “what goes around comes around” and the person will find that what he or she has sown will be reaped back to them. In other words, karma, as we call it, has shown up on the doorstep. This means that we are allowed to step back, know our God is a big God, realize that we can also be a bigger person, and let it go.
Do you give people a second chance? The truth is that it honestly depends on what the Lord wants for your life and whether or not He wants the person to be in it. This is where you must use your good judgment/discernment and make a decision. What matters is that, even if you do let someone go, you should make sure to be on good terms so that you are not holding unforgiveness in your heart. This will only bring you down and keep the door from closing on that chapter in your life. If you do decide to give the person another chance, make sure that there are new loving boundaries set or that the person realizes trust is something that must be carefully rebuilt with respect and honor for each other.
Matthew 6:15 (NIV) notes, “‘But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.'” It may be hard to forgive, and even if you forgive, it may be hard to forget. But remember that Christ has forgiven us and even DIED for us so that we might have chances at eternal life with Him. Not only that, but God does forget because He takes our sins, once they are forgiven, and casts them into the fiery pits of hell.
Featured Image By Kyle Broad
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on passionpurposepursuit.blogspot.com