One of the dead weights that keep people from living a successful Christian life is the fact that they harbor a lot of resentment in their hearts.. The Bible instructs us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us (Heb 12:1).
Paul says, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13,14). I believe, when he said “forget those things” he meant that we ‘should not to dwell on the past’. You cannot literally forget the past or erase your memory especially if it is too painful and too devastating. But what you can do is choose not to remember them and dwell on them.
We can really live a life of peace and tranquility if we have the ‘will to forgive’! Jesus said in Matthew 6:15, “If you are not willing to forgive other people their trespasses against you, then your Father in heaven is going to be unwilling to forgive you your trespasses.” Our willingness to forgive decides whether or not we will be forgiven. No matter how many times you have asked God to forgive you, if you have not forgiven, you are not forgiven also.
Are you in a position in which you think you will never be able to forgive or love that person again? May be someone has wronged you or you are going through something you didn’t have to go through. May be someone falsely accused you or even abused you. The point is, no matter how difficult it may be, you ‘have to’ forgive before you can proceed with your life. When you don’t forgive somebody, you’re not affecting that person neither is God affected by that. What you are really doing is hurting yourself.
How to deal with your pain?
1. Do not bury them:
The first and the foremost thing people normally do is ‘bury their past’. They just don’t want to deal with the things that happened in their lives. Some just push it down a deep as possible. They want to cover it as much as they can. They put on a good smile outside but deep inside is this rage and resentment. But one day, it just comes out and they just blow up. That is why some people take drastic decisions over small things. The most insignificant thing ticks them off. Why? The unresolved resentment tries to escape in anyway it possibly can.
May be you can relate to that to some extent. Something so horrible happened to you and today, you just can’t let go of if. And you say, I don’t even want to talk about the past and it doesn’t hurt me any more. But, what you don’t realize is, it is affecting you even now.
Hatred and bitterness are like poison that will intoxicate you little by little without your knowledge. It is so dangerous to bury the past because it will completely destroy you. The Bible declares, “Anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Pro 7:9). Does anger rest in your bosom? Do you have anger in your heart? It is not really worth holding on to it. The longer you hold it, the harder it is to get rid of it. The deeper you bury it, the tougher it’s going to be to deal with it.
2. Release it once and for all:
What we ought to do is just give it to the Lord 100%. We don’t need to be carrying around that excess baggage. It is like a burden and it is on your shoulders. Jesus said, ‘Come to me all you who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest’ (Matt 11:28). That is a personal invitation for you. Leave it to the Lord and He is able to take the burden on Himself. If you say it is too much to bear. Then give them all to Jesus!
We ought to go to The Lord Jesus and say, God, I turn all my burden to you. Lord, search my heart and show me why I am hurt? Show me the reason why I behave the way I behave.. The Psalmist prays, ‘Search me. O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting (Ps 139:23,24). This is what every Christian ought to do.
Ask God for help. Tell God that you refuse to live a life of unforgiveness. Tell Him that you just choose to forgive everybody that has ever hurt you. You will soon see God’s strength coming upon you. Any of that junk will not poison you anymore.
I believe that if you have a sincere desire, if you want to forgive, even if you don’t have enough strength to do it on your own, God will give you the strength to forgive. You’ve just got to make up your mind to release all of that hurt, pain and bitterness and wholeheartedly forgive everyone that’s ever done you any wrong.
3. Love your neighbor:
This is the hardest part of all. But the good news is ‘with God all things are possible’. God’s word says, ‘If you remember that your brother has something against you, you need to reconcile to your brother’ (Matt 5:23,24). Many people have a real hang-up with this scripture. The Word of God does not say, if you have something against your brother…but instead it says, if your brother has something against you. Many times, I have observed that people misunderstand and they hold that grudge against us. The best way to go is to get forgiveness from such a person too. Just go that extra mile!
The second commandment Jesus taught is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt 22:40). The words ‘brother’ or ‘neighbor’ simply mean anyone who comes in contact with you. The Bible instructs us to ‘have a fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins’ (1Pet 4:8). The love in us should be so much greater that other’s shortcomings will become negligible. How good it will be if every Christian gets there!
May the Lord help us to live a ‘life of forgiveness’ each day. Amen.