So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. Luke 17:3-4 NIV
To say that forgiveness is easier than it looks is an understatement. Believe me, I understand. I have been a Christian all of my life and have always loved Jesus, but I had a horrible period in my life where forgiveness was impossible for me.
You see, I battled clinical depression most of my life, and that depression led me to some painful situations.
Specifically, I met a guy when I was 19 years old, and I dated him for five years. He was horribly abusive towards me – in about every way possible. The physical abuse was not as bad as the mental and emotional abuse that he poured out on me daily. He hammered away at my self-esteem until it was nearly gone.
I hated myself and my very existence.
It was during this time that the Lord showed Himself to me in a powerful way. He led me to end that toxic relationship, but by the time I did, I was so very angry. Angry at that person. Angry at myself. Angry at God.
Even though I was free from that relationship, I was still not TRULY free.
Because I had not forgiven that person.
WHAT? How could I forgive someone who treated me like dirt for years on end?
I had been seeing a Christian counselor to lead me through my healing process, and she began to talk to me about forgiving that person. Well, let me tell you what – I was not having any of that.
But the Lord lovingly showed me that forgiving someone else does not mean I like what that person did to me. Forgiveness sets me free. Free to live. Free to love. Free to be what the Lord created me to be.
I wish I could say that I forgave that person quickly, but I eventually let that part of my life go and put it in the past. When I did, I felt a huge weight leave me.
I had not felt that light in years. I just got so used to carrying the hurt and anger around with me that they became a part of me. Christ wanted so much more for my life than that.
Praise Him for never giving up on me! He set me free, and He can set you free, too.
Ask the Lord to help you forgive. He knows how terribly difficult that can be, and He will walk with you through it.
Father, thank You for freeing me from that dark time in my life. Thank You also for showing me how to forgive and what it means to forgive. I pray that You continue to show me and my sisters in Christ how true forgiveness will set us free to be everything that You want us to be for You. We love You so dearly! In His Grip, Amen.