Let It Go
In my last blog we looked at burnout, what it is and how it can be caused by stress. We explored the link with hurt and disappointment but this time it would be great to explore a related area of forgiveness and offence.
It’s so easy to be offended isn’t it? I find, working for a Christian organisation, it’s sometimes easier to be offended by fellow Christians than it is by those we are seeking to reach! We make allowances for those who might not know better but those that do know better should watch out, right? I have passed judgement on people based on a previous offence or hurt they caused me. It almost feels like I’m ‘getting them back on a spiritual level’.
But it’s not your fight or mine. Romans 12:19 tells us: ‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord”’
At this point I can hear the famous Frozen song, Let It Go, being sung in my head. But I don’t want to let it go; I want them to feel the hurt I feel. Will forgiving them make the wrong right again? No, the wrong will still be wrong, but by forgiving we make a choice out of our will to release forgiveness to them.
In Luke 6:37 Jesus commands us, ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven’
So, we are commanded to forgive. Whilst I know this is the right thing to do, I think to myself, “Why can’t I do it Lord? I need your help Jesus to forgive.” This is one of the best prayers you could ever pray. Forgiveness is a process and without the help of Jesus we will be chained to the offence and offender forever. We fall out of God’s covering and are open to attack from the unholy trinity: sin, the world and the devil.
I have seen people I minister with become a different person when I mention someone they have ‘fallen out with’. The anger, bitterness and pain is unbearable to watch. I remember one lady doing this during a time of prayer at the end of our weekly worship and Bible study. She went from 0 to 99 in a second. Wow was she cross with this person! This new Christian needed to know that Jesus did not think the offence was OK and alright. The offence was wrong but holding back forgiveness was causing this lady medical ailments. The person who had caused the offence was oblivious to this offence they had caused and was getting on with life. Prompted by Jesus, I suggested she ask Jesus to help her to forgive. She was sceptical but prepared to try. That’s all it takes – a willingness to open up to Jesus and get His help. It was a process but what a difference that forgiveness brought! The joy and love that radiates from her face now is breath taking.
It takes one to forgive and two to reconcile. You may never have a meaningful relationship with the offender again but you will be free from your chains of offence. In my next blog we will explore what you do when you have an on-going relationship with the person that is causing the offence.