Over time, God gave me the grace to forgive him. Truly forgive. I no longer count his sins against him. I choose not to bring them up. Not to him. Not to others. I try not to even think about it.
I also asked him to forgive me. I received a vague response that sounded positive, but I wasn’t really sure if that meant he forgave me or not. After some recent correspondence and replies with bitterness and anger, I realized that he hadn’t forgiven me. So I asked again, said I couldn’t change the past and that I was sorry. He said he forgave me, not to worry. But in the next sentences, threw my past sins back in my face…again.
As far as the east is from the west…
Into a sea of forgiveness…
And yet, as tempting as you might think it would be to throw all his past sins back in his face, I was not tempted to do so. That’s when I knew I had truly forgiven him. Forgiveness does not mean that by some miracle you forget what was done to you. It doesn’t mean you make excuses for the other person. It doesn’t mean you weren’t hurt by it. And it doesn’t mean that you reconcile instantly every time. But it does mean that we give up our right to count it against them, or to keep bringing it up, or to try and punish them in some way.
If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Forgiveness is the choice of the person who has been hurt.
But… that can be hard. Hard when the other person wronged you and you forgave them. Hard when they won’t forgive you back. Hard when they continue to persecute you and wrong you.
I so much want to set the record straight. But each time I try to defend myself, the backlash gets worse. It seems the least damage happens when I just keep letting them berate, accuse and gossip about me to others. Just keep letting them get away with it.
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
When you feel like you can’t take it anymore, and are on the verge of being crushed into the dirt…remember that God loves you. He has a future for you. He is in control.
His will be done in my life. If He deems it permissible that I be persecuted, then I must trust in God’s perfect will to work all things for good. Trust that he can reverse, correct, turn-around and heal. I will lay down my pride, and breathe fresh comfort that He has buried my guilt and that my sins are covered by his blood. The enemy has been defeated and has no claim on my life - because my life belongs to Jesus.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” – Psalm 62:5 NIV