By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
We get hurt.
Words pierce out hearts. Friends betray us without warning. We are left out, labeled, and judged.
Hurt can hover over you like a cloud. It follows you everywhere, popping up to remind you of the past, to point out your insecurities, to make your ears ring with the words that have been said.
Hurt can define our path. It can keep us away from certain places. It can cause us to push people away. Joy is so easily squeezed out of our lives because of hurt.
When we hold situations, conversations, and seasons of hurt so close to our hearts, it has a profound effect on our lives. It can keep us from living to the fullness of which we are called. It drags us down and keeps us chained and burdened.
I think this is why Jesus calls us to forgive. I don’t think it is only because our forgiveness can be to our enemy’s benefit, but in reality, it is to our benefit as well. Not only does our forgiveness release them from the burden of guilt but it releases us from the burden of pain.
Jesus makes it clear:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
God’s desire is for us to forgive those who have hurt us. It is to admit to them, ourselves, and God that we hold no grudge. It doesn’t mean the hurt has disappeared. It doesn’t mean that the cloud has disappeared. It means that in our eyes, our enemy is off the hook. They are no longer guilty in our eyes.
And this is a difficult process to go through. Many times, the hurt runs deep and the scars are still tender. Sometimes, people hurt us day after day, without acknowledging the pain they’ve caused.
This is why I believe that, sometimes, forgiveness must be a daily affair. So often, our mind is flooded with painful memories, and our heart weighs heavy with the burden of our hurt. But we need to be reminded that we have forgiven that person who hurt us. We need to remember that Christ forgave us so we, too, must forgive them. We have to make a stand for another day and say, “I’ve forgiven you in the past and I forgive you again today.”
Christ even said that forgiveness isn’t always a onetime thing:
“And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive” (Luke 17:3-4).
The hurt is real. The pain can weigh heavily. But hear Christ say to you again today, “Forgive.”