Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened happened that hurt you enough to change who you were?
As I was thinking on this question, I asked my husband what hurt changed me the most? I can tell you to the day what hurt changed him. But to have perspective and see your own life is not as easy.
Losing my daddy was hard. I had a good father. He was a fun and loving man who loved his family very much. Parkinson’s Disease is a slow and hard disease with cruel and debilitating symptoms. I suppose I will miss him for the rest of my life. If I could only have one more conversation. I think I miss that the most because the disease kept him from communicating well years before he died. I miss my Daddy. That is a hurt.
Then there’s the words that hurt so much. Sticks and stones…. Well that’s a lie! Words DO hurt! Especially when it’s from someone who is supposed to love you. It caused me to question who I am, what kind of person I am and how I’m perceived by others. It was a ‘cut-to-the-bone’ comment. It took the wind out of my sail for a long time. How is it that the people who we love the most could do that…could say that? What did that say about her? What did it say about what she thought about me? It wasn’t about who was right or wrong, it was simply a hurtful statement. And what was I supposed to do with that?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We will all lose our parents someday. It’s how this ole world works. They get to go to heaven before us. And what time has taught me is that out of self-preservation I had to forgive the person who said the hurtful words. The old cowboy proverb about forgiveness is precisely true! I was setting myself on fire and expecting her to die from smoke inhalation. Clearly she had moved on. I was the only one still hurting because I chose to hang on to ‘words!’ How many words do we waste every day? I was making myself miserable over a half a dozen words that could never be erased, deleted or taken back.
Matthew 18 says, At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. (MSG)
All my life I’ve thought this verse to mean, that I was to forgive everyone. Something like turn the other cheek but forgive because I had been forgiven. I also thought it meant forgiving someone once for each offense even if that person offended me 490 times. (I grew up with sisters ;)) But today I know better.
Despite the hurtful words spoken to me, I had to forgive. But even as I write this paper it all comes flooding to mind and I confess I have shed a few more tears tonight. That’s where the seventy times seven comes in. I have to forgive her again. Every time it drifts up….I have to forgive. What good can come from me choosing not to forgive? It blocks my relationship with God. The Lord’s example on how to pray tells us to ask; forgive us our debts, AS we forgive our debtors. Lord knows I need forgiveness! So I forgive…I have to release the hurt and forgive EVERY time it comes back to mind.
I suppose we are each a culmination of the things that happened to us. That’s who we are. That’s what makes us the people we are. I can honestly say that giving my hurts to Jesus sure does lift a heavy burden. It took courage. It was hard to make that first step. But mostly it gave me back my Joy.
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Your Turn: Have you chosen to forgive seventy times seven? What if you did? What if you gave up that hurt every time it floated back up? Joyce Meyers says “Unforgiveness is spiritual filthiness, we have to wash in the water of God’s Word to forgive and stay clean.” The choice is yours. ~ Cindy