Dealing with Hurts Pt. 2

10 Jan

How We Should Respond to Hurts: 

Forgive the Unrepentant: Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” This is the basis of how to deal with hurts, no matter how small or great. Notice that Peter was concerned with forgiving the man who kept sinning over and over again and wasn’t even seeking after repentance or reconciliation. And what did Jesus encourage him to do? Keep forgiving! 

Forgiving the Repentant: If a brother hurts us, we have the liberty to rebuke (confront) him and if he is willing to repent, we have the responsibility to forgive whole-heartedly. But I also want you to see another side. Has someone ever hurt you and come to to you asking for your forgiveness but then not soon after that goes and does the same thing again? Sometimes the repentance is just spoken and not truly felt or seen in the person’s life. What are we to do if this is the case? The answer is found in Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” I believe that this is the hardest demonstration of true forgiveness: Forgiving him who continually says he’s sorry but turns away and never ceases to hurt.

 

What It Means to Forgive:

The word forgive means to: forsake, lay aside, leave, let alone, omit, put away, remit, suffer, yield up.

As I look over my life and recall situations that have caused me hurt, I begin to wonder within myself “have I really forgiven” to the Lord’s expectation and satisfaction? Have I yielded those hurtful words and actions, that have been daggers to my heart and soul, over to the Lord or do I mull them over in my head from time to time? Do I put away and confess thoughts of resentment and bitterness when I think of what someone has done, even if it was unintentional? Do I secretly desire to lash back or return evil for evil in a subtle, cunning way that appears so innocent? 

Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Our Lord does not hold grudges or tantalize us with threats. Because of the blood of Jesus, we are cleansed and forgiven immediately – whether we are repenting of our sin in anguish and tears or just giving the lip-service of an “I’m sorry”. We are commanded to forgive just like Christ has forgiven us. 

 

The Mask of Hypocrisy

I fear that many of us Christians put on a mask of hypocrisy when we say we forgive. We hide behind the cloak of innocency. Time and time again, people (including myself) fall into this trap.  We say we forgive with our mouth, but our heart is the farthest thing from it. We know it would be sinful to not forgive and we understand we are commanded to, yet we hoard bitterness and resentment within our hearts. We give out our verbal “punches” and “slaps” to our offender to get back at them all the while pretending to be sincere. We don’t open our hearts to them anymore in fear of being hurt again. Perhaps we don’t forgive them fully and completely since we feel we haven’t been given a full, remorseful apology. We hang it over their heads and never let it go. We’re quick to become defensive and lash out when we feel our rights are being threatened or our hearts being taken advantage of. There is a dire need for true Christ-like forgiveness.

I used to think that the illustration of heaping coals of fire on another’s head was a way to do something nice to make the person feel bad and full of regret for what they had done. But that isn’t what it means at all.

In the Bible days, a neighbor would visit his friend in the night and the friend would send him home with hot coals in a vessel that would sit on his head to warm his entire body. You see, the application is to do some act of kindness to make the offender feel good and blessed, warmed and loved.  How many times have I done this when I’ve been hurt – Seventy x Seven?

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