In work today I was listening to the radio. James Morrison and Nelly Furtado’s song Broken Strings came on. It talks about being hurt by someone, feeling empty, broken and lost and how forgiveness is not enough to make the wrongs right again. It got me thinking about forgiveness and how necessary it is. I find forgiveness such a difficult thing to do. I always feel guilty for saying that because as Christians we are called to forgive those who have hurt us, despite how much or how little pain was caused. We are hurt in many different ways and by many different people; those we love and even by strangers. We can all think of a time when we were hurt and how it made us feel. I have come up with just a few.
- A friend turns down your lunch plans, and then you find out they were out with someone else instead. How did you feel? Rejected? Unwanted?
- A classmate or work colleague made a comment about the outfit you were wearing. Did it make you think twice about wearing it again? Did you feel ugly? Embarrassed?
- You are out with friends, and a stranger starts arguing with you for no apparent reason. Angry? Confused?
- You are physically attacked by someone you knew, and nobody stood up for you. Did you feel scared? Alone? Frustrated? Did you want to hurt them like they had you?
I am sure you could come up with a million more. Two of those four things have happened to me. And yes, they really did hurt. I struggled to forgive those people for what they had done and I did not even know how to forgive them. I was scared of being hurt again. And I think many people are. It took me several years to forgive those people. But I knew as a Christian I had to do it.
I was listening to a Christian podcast a few weeks ago and the speaker was talking about forgiveness. One line that stood out was this: We have to forgive others; you only damage yourself by not forgiving others. I totally agree with that statement. By not forgiving someone you are allowing them control over your life. You are allowing their horrible words to creep back in, allowing the feelings they caused to destroy you.
Broken Strings says how ‘you can’t play our broken strings’. I took that line and interpreted it. We cannot move on in our lives if we are bearing grudges. We cannot live a full and meaningful life if we still hate the person who hurt us five years ago. It is just not possible because we only ever damage ourselves.
I was also thinking about the forgiveness that God has given us. And will continue to give for the rest of our lives. He gave Jesus, who was without sin. Jesus suffered so that we could be free. God gave us his ONLY son knowing He would be rejected, knowing He would be unwanted in the lives of so many. But God looked beyond that and saw us; sinners. Sinners who were in desperate need of a Saviour. I once heard a quote about how Jesus would have still been sacrificed if only one person needed to be saved. I often think about if that one person was me. Not to be selfish but to think that He loved me that much!!! I am guessing that as Jesus was led to that cross, He was scared. But He endured the pain, the rejection, the beatings, and the ridicule for both YOU and me. I do not know of anyone who will see me make mistake after mistake and then stand in front of me and say ‘I will pay for that!’ But God did because of that four letter word with a huge meaning…love.
And finally, another Joyce Meyer quote for you. Before you judge someone else, stop and think about all that God has forgiven you for. What a challenge?! From now on I am going to try to have a different attitude to those who have hurt me. I will learn to forgive others because God has forgiven me for a whole lot more!
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven
(Luke 6 vs 37)