“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
I recall sitting beside a young woman at a fibromyalgia conference during lunch. She said that although her mom tried to offer her comfort she also had some disbelief that the illness really existed. The woman on the other side of me shared, “My father just told me that he didn’t want to have contact with me any longer, until I stopped being a hypochondriac.”
In the past month I have read many of your comments and emails about how your adult children doubt your disease. There is so much resentment toward you and your explanation of illness that your grand-kids are no longer able to visit.
My heart grieves for you. It’s no surprise that the physical pain of illness is difficult, but living with the assumptions and opinions that people communicate with us can hurt even more than the physical pain. I have had people say, “You just use your illness as an excuse for everything!” when I have tried to explain why I couldn’t do a certain task. And so much more. . . In time, we must learn to harden our heart, right?
And yet –we are called to forgive? To turn away and act like everything is okay?
One of my favorite quotes on forgiveness is this: “Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past” (author unknown).
That is what is feels like. You let go of the fact that things could have been different–and much better!
We are called to forgive for our own hearts to be at peace, not because it is something God Himself needs us to do, but that He designed us to need peace. Don’t confuse this with giving in to people who are cruel. We are not called to be doormats or put ourselves in harm’s way.
Rather, God wants us to grow closer to Him, and He knows that if we are withholding that forgiveness, He will not be able to come as close to us as He needs to be in order to fully heal our heart and its hurts.
H. Norman Wright once wrote, “Forgiveness is no longer allowing what has happened to poison you.” Forgiveness is not condoning that a person’s acts were appropriate or acceptable. Forgiveness is not allowing the person to hurt you again. Forgiveness is letting go of the need to hold a grudge, and allowing God to do what He wants with your hurts.
Never doubt how God can miraculously turn things around and bless you from the pains where you most doubt anything good could come from it.
Prayer: Lord, We have all been hurt deeply by people we have trusted, cared for, and even loved and it hurts beyond measure. It’s easy to feel betrayed, let down, saddened, and even angry. Help us forgive, one day at a time, so that we can see blessings come from the pain. Show us how to do it because we cannot do it on our own strength. Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
Her friend, Renee Fisher has a new fabulous book out called and Renee will be blogging for us in September one day. If forgiveness is something you are struggling with, Lisa recommends Renee’s book whole heartedly!
Lisa also just finished reading a Christian fiction novel with the theme of forgiveness, The Renovation: A Project Restoration Novel she recommends. It’s currently $.99 on Kindle.
Has someone said something that hurt? Was your day ruined when someone reached out with criticism, not comfort? Did a phone call end with tears? Did the phone call you hoped for never come? Ask God to come into your heart and repair the damage—only He can make the hurts truly be healed.
Matthew West has a new song called “Forgiveness.” In July he was on “Katie” sharing about how he was inspired to write this song. He talks about the inspiration for the song in the second video below. It is a beautiful song and an amazing story. I hope it blesses you. -Lisa
Where the inspiration for the song came from. . .