She was so young when he defiled her, he should have never done it. What right did he have to hurt her this way? She would carry the wound forever, it has forever changed her. Stolen her innocence.
Forgiveness is a foundational must for the healing of emotional wounds. We all have been hurt along life’s path. None of us escape. It’s what we do with those blows, disappointments and betrayals that define us. I have heard people say, “I could never forgive them”. And I certainly understand because I have been hurt to the point of not wanting to forgive either. But if we think that our unforgiveness toward them will hurt them, we are wrong. It is only hurting us. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. No, we are the one who will get sick. The Bible says “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.” Notice it says God will deliver you, which means He will bring justice, He will take care of the matter. He saw that you were wronged and He doesn’t like it because He hates sin (but thankfully, He loves the sinner for all have sinned in His sight). But if we retaliate and get even, we have taken the matter out of God’s hands and placed it in our own. If we trust him to take care of us, He can bring justice and redemption to any wrong that we have ever suffered. I have seen Him do this for me more than once.
Emotional wounds can be even more debilitating than physical wounds if we let them by choosing to ignore them or refusing to do the work necessary to be healed from them.
Forgiveness is not denying or excusing the damage caused by another. We know they have wronged us, we can’t pretend that it didn’t happen. That wouldn’t make it go away. No, we choose to forgive because God first forgave us. When we forgive, we allow God to heal us. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. And it can be a process. Sometimes the wound is so deep that it just takes time to completely release the pain and fully forgive.
Sometimes our wounds are so deep and so painful that it really seems impossible to let them go. Let me suggest that if we want to be set free from the prison of the pain others have caused, it will begin with a choice. We don’t have to allow what they did to us, effect us any longer. We can get healed.
So let’s look at 4 steps to let the healing begin:
Number 1: Choose to begin the process of forgiving and letting go. You know, I knew a lady who would not forgive. She hung onto every wrong ever done to her. She died a crippled and bitter woman. She drank the poison of unforgiveness but she was the one who suffered. I remember that her best friend said something that hurt her but her friend was really sorry for offending her. She tried to reconcile and would send flowers, candy and call often. But this woman would receive none of it. She never forgave her best friend of many years and when she died, the friend who had offended her said she was so sad they had lost her last years together. She wasn’t the only person she wouldn’t forgive, she had her list.
Choose to forgive them because it is good for you and your emotional well-being.
My ex-husband was not only a physical abuser but a verbal and emotional abuser as well. He was an alcoholic and would become quite violent and abusive. I never knew what to expect. He refused to accept any responsibility for any of our problems, he simply blamed them all on me. I had a choice when we finally parted ways. I could become bitter or better. I chose to forgive him and move on. I chose to do the work to forgive him and to get myself emotionally healthy so that my
The process of forgiving could take a while especially when they are someone very close to you and the wound is very deep. It takes time to trust again (and sometimes, if they do not repent, you will never trust that person again). But forgiveness and trust are two separate issues. You can forgive someone without trusting them. Sometimes we need to forgive God for allowing this to happen to us. And sometimes we need to forgive ourselves.
Number 2: Share your pain with God and another trusted person. Get it all out in the open. Acknowledge that you need healing. When our wounds remain in the dark, when we try to ignore them and pretend they didn’t happen, then the effects from them can grow to hurt us further. So release the pain: cry, get mad, talk, talk, talk, but get it out. Just talking about your wound can bring some relief. But learning to allow God into it so that He can touch you in your deepest hurt brings freedom and healing. His Word says He is our Healer, that means physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Ask God to heal you by inviting Him to go deep into your heart to heal every part that needs it.
Number 3: Cleanse the wound through repentance. My husband recently had a deep gash on his shin which took most of the skin off and left the bone somewhat exposed. It took months for it to heal. He had to cleanse it daily. Our emotional wounds need cleansing, if left alone they could turn into unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, depression, anxiety, not to mention physical sickness. Is the person who hurt you really worth allowing you to suffer by not letting it go? We don’t want to give the devil a foothold in our lives as found in Eph. 4: 25-27. He will take any open door we give him especially when we don’t forgive. That is the exact opposite of what Christ did for us at the Cross and we are actually agreeing with the enemy when we don’t forgive. We are giving him access to destroy us. If we think we are getting even by not letting it go, we are only fooling ourselves.
God has greater things in store for you. Ask Holy Spirit to heal your wound to the point that when you speak of it, it’s almost like you are talking about someone else. That is how it is for me now when I remember my first marriage. Repent means to do a 180 degree turn. So you are walking down the road with this huge wound that is affecting your life and relationships because maybe you still have unforgiveness toward the person who hurt you. You decide to turn around and leave that baggage off to the side of the road never to be picked up again. That’s what repenting is. Doing a 180, turning and going in the other direction. Deciding that you are not allowing that thing to weigh you down anymore.
Number 4: Guard your mind. When you choose to forgive and release the pain caused by another the enemy is losing ground in your life and he doesn’t like it. So he will do everything he can to bring that wound back up again. He can only do that if you entertain it. He has to flee when we stand against him and his tactics. When the pain arises, choose to focus on something that is good in your life, your kids, your friends, your salvation, your Lord, your home, your pet. The battlefield of the mind can be conquered but it takes work and determination not to go back there. Also, renew your mind by the Word of God. It is living and active and has the power to change us. If you are not a reader, get a good Bible app and play it for yourself. Take responsibility to Feed yourself truth from the Word.
If you are remarried with children, chances are that you have had plenty of opportunity to wound and be wounded. Make the choice today to forgive anyone in your family who has harmed you. It doesn’t mean you have to trust them, but God is asking you to love them. Our adopted son has wounded us time and time again. As an adult, he has made choices that would hurt any parent. We do not trust him right now but we love him. We continually ask for wisdom in our relationship with him. And we are waiting for him to return to God and to our family.
To recap then, #1 Choose to forgive. #2 Share your pain with God and another trusted individual, don’t pretend it’s not there. #3 Cleanse the wound through repentance, do a 180, leave that thing by the side of the road– don’t give the enemy a foothold in your life. #4 Renew your mind through the Word and choose to think about those things that are good and lovely in your life.
I hope this helps if you are struggling with letting go of a hurt, past or present. Fall on the Rock of Jesus Christ and let Him hold you and heal you. Forgiveness is foundational to walking with God. We can forgive because He first forgave us.