As I was sitting in the floor picking the stickers off of my leg and foot (there were 8 of them, I might add!), I began to think about how this “removal process,” as I like to call it, is a lot like forgiveness. And before I go any further, I want to preface this by saying that I’m probably writing this blog more for me than anyone else. If anyone needs to learn about forgiveness…it’s Lindsay Dryer. But I bet I’m not alone. :)
It can obviously be very painful when others let us down, disappoint us, or sin against us. There is no doubt about that. But sometimes forgiving can be even more difficult and painful, at least for me. It’s hard to be hurt by people and just turn around and forgive them. It doesn’t always seem fair. The selfish (human) side of us wants to prove a point. We want to make sure the people that hurt us really understand what they have done to us. We don’t want to let them off the hook that easy. We want them to hurt if we have to hurt. We want to make it fair. It’s certainly a painful process.
Imagine YOU have a sticker in your foot. You really want it out, but it hurts even worse trying to remove it. You’re almost willing to settle for having a sticker in your foot forever instead of dealing with the pain of taking it out. It seems like it would be easier. And actually, it might be easier if you were planning on sitting on that floor for the rest of your life. But is that what you really want to do? I highly doubt it.
Because eventually you’ll have to get up and walk somewhere. You’ll need to walk to the fridge for a Dr. Pepper (oh wait…that’s just me), or you’ll need to move out of the doorway so you don’t get run over! What I’m trying to say is this: life goes on. If you decide to leave that sticker in your foot, the next time you stand up and start walking, that sticker is going to go deeper and deeper, and you will be in even more pain. On the other hand, if you take the sticker out, it might hurt for a few days, but the wound will heal, and it’ll be like it never happened.
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that forgiving can be painful. It can be a hard process. It can even be a long process. But we must keep in mind some of the promises the Lord has given us.
#1: He will never give us more than we can handle with His help, and we’re not alone in this struggle.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.” | 1 Corinthians 10:13a MSG
#2: Even though others may let us down, God will never ever EVER fail us.
“All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” | 1 Corinthians 10:13b MSG
And the most important, #3: He will always forgive us of our sins.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” | 1 John 2:1-2 NIV
God calls us to forgive others as He has forgiven (and continues to forgive) us.
I hope this has been encouraging for you. If nothing else, I hope you realize that you are not alone. Forgiveness is rough, tough, and painful, but I promise that the one-time pain of forgiving another is a lot better than a lifetime pain of unforgiveness.
Love each other and forgive each other! Your life will be so much happier! :)