When you have been hurt, and then you have offered forgiveness, what do you do when it still eats away at you?
By Renee Fisher
Forgiveness doesn’t have to be the end of the story when you have forgiving someone who has hurt you.
In fact, it’s actually the beginning. But you jump to conclusions or the obvious “Sunday school” answer–that Jesus died and rose again so that our sins could be forgive–let’s dig a little deeper.
If you attended church for more than a few Sundays like I have–there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been hurt by someone in the church.
Maybe your pastor committed adultery and left your church hanging (this actually happened to me). Maybe someone on staff at church called you names and sad ugly things about you (this also happened to me). Maybe a spiritual mentor or father figure abused you.
It reminds me of the story of Job in the Bible.
In my new book Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me I write, “Like Job, God can handle your questions, your misinterpretations, and even your anger (62). If your faith journey is confusing, painful, or hazardous (as Ed would say), don’t stop–keep going!
Forgiveness will see you through
But, you might be asking how?
I don’t know your story, and neither have I walked a mile in your shoes. But we do have another example to learn from. What I appreciate most about the life of Job is that he wasn’t afraid to duke it out God and his friends who claimed he was guilty.
“These men–Job’s friends–had offered correct statements about God (yes, sometimes God does allow us to suffer as a result of our straying from His law), but none of them led Job to a place of repentance or a greater acknowledgement of God” (59).
Whoa. Just whoa.
I can’t take credit for this thought, actually. My husband Marc is the one who pointed out this little tidbit. We can be correct about God in our thoughts, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in danger of His anger.
Yes, God can handle our anger.
No, forgiveness is not the end–a greater knowledge of God is.
No matter what hurtful situation you are experiencing–the truth will ultimately be revealed. I want you to know God still speaks out of storms. When you and I are tempted to give up, curse God, or believe what everyone else is saying–just wait!
As C.S. Lewis says, “Nothing less will shake a man–or at any rate a man like me–out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover himself.”
Let us remember: We discover our true self in the hard times
Even when it hurts.
Even if it feels like the end.
As my husband says, “We’re getting by with murder, casual hellos, cheap amens and hallelujas, singing a few choruses while willing a bucket or collection plate and looking religious on Sunday. Only God knows your true condition as He sees it, not you. He knows the truth of your life, your marriage, your morality, your thoughts, your secret dealings; He knows you perfectly” (60).
Starting October 1, Lisa will be leading a group study on this book by Renee, which is article is adapted from, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me. © 2013 Harvest House Publishers. It is available for purchase in our shop, on sale for just $9 for a couple more weeks. You can also purchase it at your local bookstore or with an electronic device.
Renee Fisher, the Devotional Diva®, is the spirited speaker and author of Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me, and Loves Me Not. A graduate of Biola University, Renee’s mission in life is to “spur others forward” (Hebrews 10:24) using the lessons learned from her own trials to encourage others in their walk with God. She and her husband, Marc, live in California with their dog, Rock Star. Learn more about Renee at www.devotionaldiva.com and www.forgivingme.com.