Offenses… we are going to experience the pain of being offended at some point or another in our lives. Some hurts are intentionally done to us, but other offenses are created unknowingly by the other party.
Once the offense occurs though, what do we do with them? How do we handle offenses — especially when they are so painful that they “blindside” us and threaten to immobilize our emotions for a time?
Our natural inclination is often to allow the offenses/hurts to fester until they become an even heavier load to carry, turning into the crushing weight of bitterness.
Hurt that is allowed to fester turns into the crushing burden of bitterness.
Here are some thoughts I journaled recently on this subject:
“When I hold onto anger, hurts, and unforgiveness, I allow the offender to hold power over me and am giving the offender permission to continue to hurt me.”
Why would I say that holding onto forgiveness gives the offender power to continue to hurt me?
This is what my journal entry continued to say,
“Holding onto offenses keeps them ever present in my thoughts and emotions. It doesn’t allow me to be ‘released’ from the hold of the offenses. It doesn’t allow me to walk in the peace, joy and grace that God willingly offers to each of us when we yield ourselves to Him.”
My journal then connects unforgiveness with a lack of trust in God. Why would I connect these two seemingly unrelated issues?
This is what my journal said…
Holding onto offenses is really saying, “I’m not sure God will take care of this. I trust only myself to take care of this situation (which often means we think we can punish the offender by withholding forgiveness, love, and grace). The reality is we hurt ourselves the most when we hold onto unforgiveness.”
I have also heard it said that holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills someone else.
To forgive someone is to set yourself free so that the offense and the offender no longer has the power to keep you chained to past hurts.
Today, be set free! Forgive, even as Christ has forgiven you. Let Him be your Defender.