In every close relationship we can get our feelings hurt. At those times—when we hurt each other in big and small ways—two little words make a huge difference: “I’m sorry.” Have you said “I’m sorry” recently to your best friend? to your spouse? to your child? to your parent?
Then a sweet, healing balm is applied to the wound when three simple but powerful words are spoken back: “I forgive you.”
Nine Women Tell their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing … That’s the subtitle of our book, and for good reason. Healing and forgiveness go together. In fact, I can confidently say that relational healing won’t happen without forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the turning point in all the stories in Journeys to Mother Love.
During this season of Lent, I am going to meditate on the forgiveness provided for me by Jesus on the cross. He forgave freely, unconditionally, forever. Jesus was mocked, misunderstood, abused, rejected. Yet he said, “Father, forgive them.”
He was despised and rejected … a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows … and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53: 3-6)
Can we not bring our offenses, hurts, and rejections to Jesus?
Because Jesus forgives, we must. Because he did, we can.
Forgive. Then live in a heart attitude of forgiveness. Slights, rejections, offenses will come—sometimes unexpectedly, catching us off-guard. I’m asking the Lord to help me recognize those feelings when they come, then help me give the offense and the feelings to Jesus immediately. He knows my thoughts and feelings already. I can simply let it go. In faith. With love. Because there are much bigger things at stake than my hurt feelings. Because it’s so much more important how the Lord sees me than how others see me. Because he gave his life and shed his precious blood so that forgiveness could happen. Because fellowship, relationship, wholeness are so important to the Lord and so wonderful to experience.
I realize some wounds are so deep we hardly know how to face them, how to deal with them, or even exactly what or who we need to forgive. Perhaps the other person is not saying “I’m sorry.” But our unforgiving spirit is causing us pain and keeping us from a life of joyful wholeness.
As a child I heard my preacher father give the sermon illustration of a festering boil, full of pus and painful to touch. Such a sore place causes misery and anguish until you are willing to have it lanced open and drained of the poisonous, pressuring pus. Or what about a person who had a broken arm that wasn’t set properly and grew together wrong, awkward and painful? It must be re-broken and set properly so it can knit together in harmony and heal, so the arm will move freely without pain.
I don’t want to let poisonous reactions, angry pressure, out-of-kilter attitudes, or pus-like resentment fester in my soul and cause anguish in my relationships.
Lord, give me the grace to say and mean, “I forgive you.”