You will experience hurt, fear, frustration, and feelings of injustice. I’m sorry. It happens to all of us. And then you die. But it doesn’t have to lead to sin.
You see, if we allow ourselves to enter into a sinful attitude following the hurt, fear, frustration and feelings of injustice… then what? Anger, rage, destruction?
I submit that if you understand the source of sin and when somebody sins they have a problem with God, and not you, then you don’t have to get mad in retaliation. But you will suffer hurt, fear, frustration, and feelings of injustice.
We see an example of what to do in Numbers 16:
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their grain offerings! I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, and I have never hurt a single one of them.”
Why did Moses get mad in verse 15, when he hadn’t gotten angry earlier at the same things that the Israelites were doing? He got angry because he took it personally.
But he didn’t sin.
Instead, he took his anger straight to God. He allowed God to deal with the situation. He allowed God to deal with his own heart. He obeyed and submitted to God’s will despite his hurt feelings.
For many of us – who are out of practice of doing this – it’ll take 20 times a day of surrendering like Moses did. Maybe by the third day, you’ll be down to 16 times a day, but you’ll learn to be angry and not sin.
Here’s the tough part: you have to choose to forgive; you have to give up your “right” to get even; you have to be willing to give the person over to Christ and to His discipline. Christ may even save their soul in the process. Would that be okay with you … even after the horrible injustice they did to you?
Sounds like an oxymoron?
You see, we can forgive even if we don’t feel like it. Many people believe that if they don’t feel like forgiving someone, then they can’t otherwise they’d be a hypocrite because “You can’t forgive someone unless you trust them, and I don’t trust them”. However, these reasons to not forgive are wrong.
If you are disciplined and obedient, then how you “feel” about something or someone is irrelevant to what you do next. If we wait for our feelings to be as God wants them to be before we do anything, we’d rarely do anything. But, if we obey God’s will despite our feelings, then our feelings will come into alignment over time.
Therefore, the Bible says to choose to forgive – no matter how you feel about it and despite whether or not you trust the person afterward. Trust and feelings don’t have anything to do with forgiveness. You can forgive in an instant, but trust takes time and circumstances to arrive.
There are consequences to sin. One of which is a lack of trust. But forgiveness is not one of them. Sin can be forgiven. It can be put away once and for all. If we submit to God’s will and not insist on our own.
On a similar note, you do not have to reconcile with someone who is not repentant. You’re not obligated to have the same relationship with them after the offense as you did before. But, you can be free of the incident, and they won’t own you, if you choose to forgive.
Also, if you choose to forgive someone, it’s probably not a good idea to go tell them that you do unless you know that they need to hear it. Because often “I forgive you…” is a statement of manipulation. But as Matthew 5 says:
23 “if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
On the other hand, if you have been wronged, just deal with it and know that the responsibility is God’s when it comes to their discipline and correction.
If immorality was involved, then you don’t want to go meet with the person that you were immoral with because the higher command is to simply flee from temptation.
So there you have it – you don’t have to feel like it, you don’t have to trust, you don’t even have to forget; but you do have to give up all rights to get even and give up your grudge.
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