The Struggle with Forgiveness

forgiveness

Forgiveness is something that I really struggle with. And when I say struggle, I mean STRUGGLE. I am a queen of holding grudges and not letting stuff go. I could give you a wrap sheet of people who I have cut off and cut out of my life for hurting me or doing me wrong. That list includes colleagues, friends and even family. (No, I don’t discriminate) And I’m the type that will cut you off and never speak to you again in life. The type that will see you in the street, at the store, or at your mama’s house and won’t speak. The type that would keep riding if I saw your car broke down on the side of the road. Okay, maybe I’m not that bad, but you get my point. My struggle with forgiveness is so real. But God has really been working with me on this issue lately and forcing me to face my issues with forgiveness head on.

I’ve been seeing that my issues with forgiveness come from the fact that I heavily value justice. I hate when things aren’t even and fair. I feel like if you do something wrong then you should make it right. If you hurt someone, then you should do everything in your power to make it up to them. It’s a standard that I hold myself and others to, and it’s that way of thinking that’s made it so easy to hold grudges and bitterness in my heart against others. Whenever people have wronged me in the past my automatic response has been, “They did something to hurt me, so if they want my forgiveness then they should come to me and make it up to me by apologizing. That’s only me being fair.” I felt that if I forgive them without them taking the steps to make it “right”, then I was letting them off the hook. I thought that if I didn’t hold a grudge then what they did had no consequences.

While it may sound fair and even sound right on the surface, the way I was thinking, and the way many of us think about forgiveness, isn’t based on truth. I think what’s at the core of our unforgiveness is the lie that our healing has to come from the same place that our hurt came from. We feel that since a particular person was responsible for hurting us, then by default, they are responsible for healing us. We hold on tightly to anger and pain from past hurts because we falsely believe that the people who hurt us are the only ones capable of setting us free. Forgiveness frees us from that way of thinking. It allows us to realize that even though someone hurt us, we don’t have to wait around for them to heal us. We don’t have to walk around day after day holding onto grudges, waiting around for an apology that may or may not ever come. Forgiveness allows us to see that our healing is not dependent on the person that hurt us. It opens our eyes to the fact that it doesn’t matter where our hurt came from because our healing ultimately comes through Christ. That’s what makes forgiveness so freeing. It turns our attention away from the ones who hurts us, and sets our eyes on the One who heals us. He is the only One capable of tending to the wounds from our past. He is the only One that can take the sting out of the slights we’ve felt. He is the only One who can piece our heart back together after it’s been broken by others.

And realizing that forgiveness hinges on Him and not on human beings, reminds me of why Christ died on the cross for us. His death was the ultimate act of forgiveness. It was the recognition that no human being would ever be capable of apologizing, sacrificing or paying God back enough to cover the wrongs of our sins. It was the ultimate recognition that there was no way a human being could heal the agonizing hurt we cause God whenever we disobey Him through our sin. Christ’s death was the realization that human beings were incapable of undoing the damage our sinful ways cause. I hurt the very heart of God every single time I sin. We hurt the very heart of God every single time we sin. Every single time. Yet He doesn’t hold grudges until I make it “right”. He doesn’t make me, or any of us, pay Him back for wronging Him. He forgave each of us and tangibly showed us that forgiveness by sending His only begotten Son. Looking at His incredible forgiveness of all of my sins, makes my unforgiveness seem really petty, childish, trivial, insignificant…well you get the point.

So maybe you’re like me and struggle with forgiveness. Maybe you’ve been holding grudges with the false hope that the people that hurt you were the only ones capable of healing you. Maybe somewhere along the way you forgot that the same forgiveness God extended to us over 2000 years ago on an old, rugged cross is the same forgiveness we’re called to extend to others. But as you go into the new year, start off by taking your eyes off of the ones that hurt you and fix them on the only One who has ever been capable of healing you. Go into this new year letting go of pain and bitterness that unforgiveness causes, so you’ll be able to fully embrace the healing and comfort that God’s forgiveness brings. Pick up that phone, send that text, write that e-mail or letter (Shoutout to you if you still write letters) and let someone who hurt you know that you forgive them because you know the One who has forgiven you.

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Dear Love: Healing from Pain

Dear Love,

Healing can’t come until you decide to let go of the pain. I know you want to move on from the past but you’re still holding on to all those painful memories. You keep saying you’re ready to move on but you keep going back to the places and people that cause you the most pain. You say you don’t want to end up bitter and broken, yet you’re unwilling to forgive. Unfortunately, love, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, on this one. If you want to claim your healing, you’ve got to consciously let go of everything that keeps re-injuring you.

XOXO,

Sarita

Dear Love: Healing For Your Heart

Dear Love,

So often, we re-injure our own hearts by continuing to open ourselves up to people in hopes that they will be able to heal all the pain we’ve experienced in the past. We’re so blinded by the emptiness and pain that we’re already feeling from past relationships, that we can’t see that the people we keep turning to for healing are just like the ones before. We end up running into the arms of another person who is just like the ones that hurt us in the past. Only to get hurt yet again. Only to run to yet another person just like the ones before. Only to keep ourselves in a vicious cycle that drives us deeper into the very hurt and pain we’re trying rescue ourselves from. The faces may change, but the injury doesn’t. We just keep adding layer upon layer of pain to a heart that’s already been so deeply wounded.

Stop searching, love.

You’re heart can only take so much pain. You can only be broken so many times. You deserve to heal. You deserve to find true love. You’ve been searching all over for it. From relationship to relationship. From person to person. From one thing to the next. But nothing fills that gaping hole inside of you. Everything you’ve found so far has only temporarily numbed and drowned out the pain, but it doesn’t heal the pain like you’ve been hoping it would.

Can I help you out, love?

The only one that can heal your broken heart. The only one that can restore your wounded soul. The only one that can make you whole again is the One who died for you at a place called Calvary. The One who gave His life so you could have life abundantly. He died to rescue you from your brokenness. He died to heal every single pain. He died to mend your tattered heart. He died to save your lost soul. He loves you unconditionally and uncontrollably. Intensely and immensely. His love is powerful enough to restore every part of you that is hurting, empty and sad. But you have to let Him. You have to make the choice to stop giving your heart to people who don’t know how to take care of it. You have to stop trusting those people that are dealing with their own brokenness, to be in charge of your healing. You have to fling yourself into the arms of the only One who can give you what you’ve desperately been searching for. Trust Him with your whole heart like you’ve been trusting so many others with it. Bare you entire soul before Him, the same way you’ve bared it to others. If you give Him your heart and soul, He won’t ever leave you or let you down. Give Him your all: your brokenness, your emptiness, your despair, your pain and your fear. I promise you, He will give you wholeness, fullness, joy, peace, and love that’s everlasting.

He wants to give you “beauty for your ashes”, my love…but only if you let Him. ❤

XOXO,

Sarita

Dear Love: You’re Still Here

Dear Love,
I don’t care what you’ve been through or how much you’ve been hurt, the fact that you can read this means that you can recover and heal from the pain. The fact that you’re still here despite all of the hurts. The fact that you survived every single struggle. The fact that you were able to push through the pain means that you’re ready to be renewed and restored. You might be barely holding on, but YOU ARE holding on. Don’t give up, love! Know that God has seen everything you’ve been going through. Every tear you’ve cried. Every time your heart has been broken. Every time your trust has been abused. Every time you’ve been tossed to the side. Even when you didn’t feel His presence or think that He cared, He was there. He was there bringing you through hardships that others couldn’t make it through and that’s a testimony all by itself. And now He’s ready to restore you and make you shine like never before. What you thought was Him abandoning you when you were at your absolute lowest. What you thought was Him forgetting you when you needed Him the most, was really just Him refining you in the fire and making your faith pure (1 Peter 1:7). Continue to hold on and rest assured that you’ve been through the fire and your faith has been tested but your “praise, glory and honor” is coming sooner than you think.

XOXO,

Sarita