Three painful words

Imagine your greatest pain. What is it? Betrayal? Loss? Death? Illness? For me, the greatest pain in my life has been pain that was inflicted on someone I love. The pain was vicious and intentional. It was no accident.

Watching someone you love going through a living nightmare is awful. Eventually you find ways of coping with the pain and you gradually move on and begin to heal on the outside. But inside, there are those frequent reminders that nag at you. You tell yourself that it’s over. You’ve moved on. But you didn’t really, did you?

Then imagine that you are in a Bible Study and find yourself sitting in the same room with this person who caused you so much pain. You try to be cordial. You are superficial and polite. The study is about true forgiveness. The leader begins by asking you to think of the person who has inflicted the most pain in your life. You look across the room and meet the eyes of that person. He knows. You know. Now what?

How do you go from holding onto your anger and pain to true forgiveness? What is it going to take to give up your right to that anger?

Today I was thinking about Easter and the last words of Jesus–“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And you know, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that those who were crucifying the Savior truly did not know what they were doing. But you know, the politics of the day had the Romans in control–the Jewish leaders knew that someone needed to be the scapegoat–the ONE who would save the Jews from Roman total takeover–and Jesus was that Savior. (John 18:14 says: Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.) And little did they know, those who brutally beat the Lord Jesus, that they were fulfilling the prophecies of the Redeemer. (see Isaiah 53)

If I were Jesus, hanging on a cross, humiliated and scorned, would I be able to say those painful words “Father, forgive them”? Jesus didn’t have to forgive, but He did. His love was not based on our worthiness of forgiveness. He truly loved and truly forgave. Rather than holding onto divine anger he poured out divine love.

I did forgive the one who had caused so much pain. I continue to battle the desire to hold onto that anger. I remind myself that I did forgive this person. And I continue to be so very grateful that the forgiveness offered to me by my Savior is not like my forgiveness. So very thankful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZVjKrmvYYQ&ob=av2e

“Forgiven”

Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just won’t let me forget[Chorus:]
In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am
I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days, in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride
Sometimes I feel alone, and I cry

[Chorus:]
In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am
I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ ‘cause
Cause I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven.
I am so so thankful that I am forgiven. May I not forget what I have been given.
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2 thoughts on “Three painful words

  1. I found myself in great empathy with this post.

    True forgiveness . . . Well, I would say that yes, yes I have forgiven those who have wronged and wounded me. I can conjure their faces vividly, and usually they materialize in their wrongful moment, how I remember them. But those who have mistreated those I care most deeply about? I’m just not sure if I could do it. Trespasses against my dear ones complicated. The forgiveness is not mine to give, for one, and two, I may forgive, but I never cease being wary and skeptical of that person. Jesus models perfect forgiveness. He set a precedent and principle in which I strive to follow, but more often than not fail.

    I love this:

    “I am so so thankful that I am forgiven. May I not forget what I have been given.”

    Thank you for your thoughts,
    Cara

    • I am often reminded of the greatness of my gift of forgiveness–to fail is one thing, but to recognize that failure and correct it–that is maturing and perfecting in the daily walk. so grateful that our walk is more than just one step!!

      always so appreciative of your thoughtful comments, Cara!

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