"When you forgive, you in no way change the past ~ but you sure do change the future." ~Bernard Meltzer
How do I respond to those who hurt and disappoint me? Do I harbor the pain? Do I try to justify and defend myself? Do I hold a grudge and cling onto the hurt that was inflicted upon me? Do I allow it to dig up old wounds so I can ruminate in all of the injustices I have experienced? Do I shut the door on relationships because of my feelings? Do I use the injury as an excuse to bow out of someone's life? Do I isolate myself as a form of self-protection? Do I speak unkindly of others because they have spoken unkindly of me? Do I manipulate the truth in order to avoid conflict? Do I bury the pain in hopes that it will go away? Do I wrestle with anger over unresolved conflict? Do I label and categorize people to avoid the hard work of getting to know their story and their own experience with pain? Do I gravitate towards people who feel safe? Do I let someone else's words determine my own thoughts about another person? Do I go to all lengths to guard my heart from pain, without counting the cost? Do I cheat myself and others in the process?
DO I REALIZE THERE'S A BETTER WAY??
If I take each hurt to God and seek His perspective, light pours in and I can see more clearly. I can see my part ~ how I may have contributed, how I tend to react, and how best to respond. I can see the other person and his own struggles, not all that different from mine. I am softened to extend forgiveness and to ask for it as well. I can see the battles being waged and how there is an enemy that LONGS to tear apart, divide and conquer ~ and how we so often play right into his hand. I can see that I don't need to turn to people for my sense of worth and value ~ I have God for that. Just knowing this frees me up to put myself and my needs into His care, and allows me to step into the other person's shoes, if only for a moment. When I do, compassion is born and I can offer genuine kindness, grace, forgiveness, and words that edify.
We all want to be heard...understood...accepted...loved. When we go to God for all of these, we in turn are equipped to respond to others this way ~ hearing their side until we truly understand where they are coming from, and accepting and loving them regardless of whether or not we agree with them.
Unconditional love and acceptance ~ it is what we all crave. In human form, it is so rare! But it is ours for the taking when we run to God. Then and only then are we equipped to offer the same.
Do I really want to wallow in the hurtful stuff? No! I want to walk in freedom, embrace the healing, and stay focused on God. A right relationship with Him allows me to have a right relationship with others. Now, that's a better way!
~ I have quite a few quotes to share today that minister to me. I hope they bless you!
"When a deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive."
"Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks, then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die."
"We are full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies."
"A mature Christian has capacity to absorb the offenses and weaknesses of others, not just demand they perform up to the code of ideals."
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
"Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time."
"A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit."
"Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life."