I had an unexpected visit with a sister in Christ yesterday. We discussed how difficult it can be to love others. So many people are simply not trustworthy with our hearts. She is such a tenderhearted, giving woman that loves the Lord Jesus and cares deeply for others and her heart had been hurt deeply. She is striving to continue to forgive and to seek healing in a peer relationship with another woman who has hurt her repeatedly. We discussed boundaries. We discussed accountability. We discussed grace and forgiveness.
But pain is pain. The choice to forgive another who has sinned against us is freeing but difficult and ongoing. It isn’t just a once and done sort of deal. As those hurt feelings continue to resurface over and over, we must choose over and over to take them to Jesus and allow Him to handle them. Releasing the situation to His perfect justice and submitting our hearts to His love for that other person. Choosing to forgive – to release them to Jesus – to move into His grace. Deep hurts require deep forgiveness. It takes time. But after continued, repeated release, God is able to heal our broken hearts and to remove, bit by bit, that root of bitterness and anger.
Jesus had a close circle of friends. God was closest. Peter, James, and John seemed to be next. The rest of the disciples around Him after that extended His friendship circle even further. His friends hurt Him, but He didn’t back away from their relationship because of their untrustworthiness. Jesus was willing to accept some pain (all of our sins) in order to get close enough to love them (us) well. He had enough grace and accountability with them to change them; to change us.
In our own lives, we need God first and foremost. His presence and His power in our lives makes all the difference. Once He has filled us with His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, we have enough to splash over onto all those imperfect people in our lives. (AND thankfully, the other people have some for me as well when I fall short!) Without the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us, true forgiveness is illusive. It is His forgiveness of our own shortcomings that allows us enough grace to offer to those who sin against us.
I want to be able to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus; to those who aren’t trustworthy, to reach them with the love and grace that Jesus gives me. He is able to change the hearts of men. I can’t. I can only be obedient to His calling and willing to be His hands and feet in service and in love. And when I get injured in the battle, I need to bring it to Him for His perfect healing.
Father God, thank You for forgiving me when I sin against You Lord. Thank You for showing me how I must forgive others, just as You have forgiven me. Help me to not shy away from people who may hurt me when You have called me to love them well in Your great Name. Fill me with Your grace so that it overflows onto all those around me. Change my heart to be more like Jesus. Amen.
Don’t be afraid to love the untrustworthy – they need it the most.
Let God fill your heart with His love and grace, and let Him heal those hurting and broken places as only He can.
Be encouraged. Press on.