The following post is by a guest blogger named : Norcha Bolden. I asked her if I could share her article with others on my About the Master's Business site. She graciously agreed.
emotional, mental or physical abuse, or being deeply hurt or mistreated
by a friend or an enemy, are common causes of depression. I have had my
share of such experiences. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness are
typical responses to such injustices suffered, but as these reactions
hinder our walk with Christ, the Bible gives us ample instructions on
how to overcome them.
Let me also mention here that in many of the
above cases, especially where abuse is involved, getting help from a
trained Christian counsellor or a professional health care worker is
very highly recommended if not absolutely necessary.
Keep No Record of Wrongs
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”
passage provides a vivid description of a life damaged by past hurts – a
life that has become a wasteland, a desert. Dwelling upon a record of
wrongs weighs us down and heavily burdens us. But the Lord’s
instructions to forget those former things and not dwell on them, comes
with a beautiful promise. Letting them go releases streams of living
water into our life and enables God to do a new work in us.
the greatest new works Christ does in our lives is to bring us to a
place where we can forgive those who have hurt us. This is such an
important aspect of our daily Christian walk that Jesus included it as
part of the Lord’s prayer. Luke 11:4 “Forgive us our sins, for we also
forgive everyone who sins against us.”
Instead of dwelling on past
hurts, we can let go of those memories and forgive the person that hurt
us. Although we cannot make ourselves forget the memories, if we stop
clinging to them the painful associations will fade significantly.
Corinthians 13: 4-5 ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not
self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.’
“But it is Part of Who I am…”
reason I had trouble letting go of past hurts was because they had
become part of my identity. “I am this way because of how that person
mistreated me,” was an excuse I believed. I feared that if I let go of
the anger and record of wrongs and forgave the person who had hurt me, I
would lose a part of myself, part of my very individuality.
Jesus taught me that such fears were unfounded, that I did not have to
hold onto past hurts in order to maintain my identity. He showed me that
there was another option - to allow His love and forgiveness to flow
from me towards the person who hurt me. And when I did this, instead of
anger and the record of past wrongs being part of who I was, Christ’s
love and forgiveness became part of my identity.
If someone were to
meet me and hear my testimony now, they would not hear me say, “I am
this way because of how that person mistreated me.” Instead, they would
see that I have forgiven the person who wounded me, and in fact love
them dearly with the love of Christ. If they were to ask me how this
could be so, I would answer, “I am this way because of Christ’s work of
love and forgiveness in my life.”
When we let Christ's love and
forgiveness become part of who we are, we change and become more like
Christ. And is that not our goal, to become more like Him? 'It is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly
body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for
me.' Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
As we learn to surrender our lives to
Christ, He can give us such a powerful revelation of His love for us
that we can view others through His loving gaze rather than through our
own eyes. I have experienced this very powerfully in my life.
be like Stephen, whose attitude towards those who unjustly stoned him
to death was: ‘While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do
not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.’
What a wonderful testimony this is to the power of
God’s love. When others see us forgive - even love - those who have hurt
us, they see the power of God’s kingdom in action, and their lives are
changed too. I have heard of many cases of abusive prison wardens in
Soviet countries coming to Christ after witnessing the unconditional
love and forgiveness of their captives.
Harbouring Unforgiveness Hurts Ourselves
we have been deeply hurt by someone in the past, we earnestly desire to
flee that pain and be set free from the wounds. A thought that I would
like us to bear in mind is that by consciously or unconsciously
harbouring anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness towards that person, we
unwittingly participate in keeping those wounds fresh and unable to
heal. That is one reason that Jesus spoke so often of the importance of
forgiving those who have wronged us. By not forgiving them, we hurt
ourselves even further.
To Forgive Others, Reflect On How Much God Has Forgiven Us
most liberating Biblical truth that helps us to forgive those who have
treated us unjustly is to recognise the depths to which God has forgiven
Why does the Bible say, “For if you forgive men when they sin
against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” Matthew 6:14?
It is because for us to refuse to forgive others after God has forgiven
our massive debts towards Him, shows a lack of appreciation of how much
God has forgiven us.
We all know of the parable in Matthew 18:21-35,
where a servant who owed millions of dollars to a king, had that debt
cancelled when he asked for mercy. The servant then went on to throw a
fellow servant that owed him a few dollars into prison, because he had
not paused to reflect on the mercy the king had extended towards him.
is the key to forgiving others, as Selwyn Hughes writes: ‘I would not
judge you or condemn you if you said: “I can never forgive that person
for what he (or she) did to me.” But what I would say to you is this:
the more you reflect on the wonder of how much you have been forgiven
the easier it will be to forgive even the worst sins that have been
committed against you.’ (1)
So, regardless of how much we have been
hurt by others, let us forgive them. If God forgives us of our numerous
sins towards Him, we can forgive others of their (comparatively) lesser
sins towards us.
And then we will be sons and daughters of God,
revealing His nature to a hurting world, as it shows us in Luke 6:35-36
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without
expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you
will be sons of the Most High…Be merciful, just as your Father is